Matthew C. Perry High School at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan, is pictured on Friday, April 7, 2023.

Matthew C. Perry High School at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan, is pictured on Friday, April 7, 2023. (Jonathan Snyder/Stars and Stripes)

MARINE CORPS AIR STATION IWAKUNI, Japan – Military police responded Thursday after a student fired an airsoft gun at another student at the high school on this U.S. base near Hiroshima.

The student fired the airsoft gun inside Matthew C. Perry High School’s information center during lunch period, principal Latressa Cobb said in a letter to parents Thursday.

“The safety of our students is our highest priority,” she wrote. “We understand you place your confidence in us every day to teach your children in a safe environment and this is a responsibility we take seriously.”

Cobb on Friday referred Stars and Stripes to Miranda Ferguson, the spokeswoman for Department of Defense Education Activity – Pacific.

“The incident did not result in any serious injuries,” Ferguson wrote in an email that afternoon.

The school did not go into lockdown and no classes were disrupted from the incident, she said.

Airsoft guns are toy replicas that look like real firearms and shoot small, round plastic projectiles using air pressure. They come in a variety of models, from pistols to automatic weapons familiar to service members. They are used in mock combat games but also by some law enforcement agencies in training scenarios.

School administrators confiscated the gun and called the MCAS Iwakuni provost marshal’s office and parents of the students involved, according to Cobb.

The spokesman for MCAS Iwakuni, Maj. Gerard Farao, on Friday referred Stars and Stripes to Ferguson for questions about the military police response.

DODEA has a zero-tolerance policy for weapons at school “and appropriate action will be taken,” Cobb told parents.

The DODEA handbook on student discipline suggests expulsion or long-term suspension of a student who brings a firearm to campus, even for a first offense, but doesn’t directly address toy or replica guns.

author picture
Jonathan Snyder is a reporter at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan. Most of his career was spent as an aerial combat photojournalist with the 3rd Combat Camera Squadron at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas. He is also a Syracuse Military Photojournalism Program and Eddie Adams Workshop alumnus.

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