Willmar Middle School student claims to have gun, a search finds it was a toy

Willmar Middle School leaders found a toy gun when they investigated a report of a student with a weapon and who threatened to use it. School officials praised the students who reported the threat.


WILLMAR — A Willmar Middle School student was found to have a toy gun in their possession Wednesday morning.

The student told other students they had a weapon and threatened to use it at school, Superintendent Jeff Holm said in a emailed statement Wednesday afternoon.

The other students alerted administrators who investigated and found that the gun was a toy.

“We take this situation very seriously and will issue the appropriate disciplinary action, per district policy,” Holm said in the statement. “Because this situation involves a student, we cannot share further details at this time.”

Holm thanked the students who reported the potential threat.


“Students are encouraged to speak with a teacher or staff member right away if they find themselves in a similar situation in the future,” he said in the statement.

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In 42 years in the newspaper industry, Linda Vanderwerf has worked at several daily newspapers in Minnesota, including the Mesabi Daily News, now called the Mesabi Tribune in Virginia. Previously, she worked for the Las Cruces Sun-News in New Mexico and the Rapid City Journal in the Black Hills of South Dakota. She has been a reporter at the West Central Tribune for nearly 27 years.

Vanderwerf can be reached at email: or phone 320-214-4340
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