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Investigation After Gun Went off Inside High School

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SOUTH CANAAN TOWNSHIP -- A school police officer is off the job after his gun went off inside a high school in Wayne County.

Even though no one was hurt, that man's actions are under investigation.

Parents of students at Western Wayne High School got a call Wednesday night telling them about that morning's incident at the high school.

Now a veteran of law enforcement is suspended without pay while investigators determine whether he should be charged after his gun went off inside his office.

"At approximately 11 a.m. our school police officer, while in his office, inadvertently discharged his firearm," said the recording of Western Wayne Superintendent Clay LaCoe.

Some eight hours earlier, the school district was just starting to deal with the incident at the high school near Waymart.

The superintendent would not say how the gun went off or what school police officer Paul Semler was doing at the time since the Wayne County District Attorney is now investigating.

"We immediately interviewed the parties involved, I talked to the board of education I talked to the faculty," said LaCoe.

Around 7 p.m. Wednesday, LaCoe made the call to parents.

"Thankfully, no one was hurt and there were no students in the office or in the near vicinity."

A detective with the Wayne County District Attorney's Office was at the Western Wayne High School one day after that gun went off. That school police officer is off the job without pay until that investigation is complete.

"Well I`m sure the party wasn`t using all their smarts," said Jeff who didn't want his last name used.

Now investigators are looking into whether Semler, a retired state trooper who's been with the district for several years, should be charged with reckless endangerment all because a school staff member was in the office at the time the gun went off.

"I think he`s going to be a lot more careful next time, I don`t think it`ll happen again," added Jeff.

Now the school district will wait for the investigation to wrap up before making any decisions.

"This could have been tragic and we`re just thankful nobody was hurt," said LaCoe.

Western Wayne has two other school police officers who will handle the job while Semler is off the job, according to LaCoe.

As for the investigation, Wayne County District Attorney Janine Edwards said it will be done quickly.


  • And they want a raise

    So besides the students worrying about being molested and sexted by teachers, they also have to worry about being shot at too. Nice, real nice.

  • Mad In Hazleton

    Investigation After Gun Went off Inside High School………………………………………
    This guy probably uses a glock, which they have no safety on them…….don’t keep a round in the chamber, if you hear a commotion then put one in the chamber, it only takes a second.

  • Rory

    I went to this high school. My junior and senior year was before they started having uniformed state troopers watch us while we ate lunch and wander the halls. It was oppressive and the quality of the education there was a joke anyway. Your typical standardized testing scheme designed to get funding and produce obedient wage slaves.

    In case you’re wondering, they started having armed police officers at the school because we had three bomb threats in two years. Then came the metal detectors, no bookbags allowed, a terrible dress code that did nothing but stifle individuality and give teachers lots of reasons to bully otherwise good students over logos or stripes on polos bigger than a square inch. You never know how much C4 someone has in the stripes of their shirt, amirite?

  • bezzel

    exactly why I would never be a cop or join military!! too many dummies in the field.. (no offense to people who are perfectly capable) I refuse to become a statistic of friendly fire.. how hard is it to keep ya finger off trigger ? smh

    • Gladly retired teacher

      I’m not sure of specific crime statistics, although, I would ask, is it necessary that this officer carry a loaded handgun?? Wouldn’t a taser or stun gun be sufficient to handle crime in a rural high school that houses so few students? No handgun is going to take on a school shooter if that’s what the thought behind it is. Maybe a locked/extremely secured arsenal with a weapon that could assist in a school shooter situation. But a loaded handgun on his person?? I won’t even get into asking why a gun was being cleaned or “regular maintenance” was being conducted on a gun at school, during school hours. If this happened at any other school, not in the middle of the woods where children are raised around hunting guns, this would be a much more serious issue im sure. I’d also like to comment on the phone call the parents received more than 8 hours after the incident: I smell an attempt at a cover-up with some back-pedaling. I don’t care what kind of panic or hysteria would have been created if the phone call came immediately after. The school district needs to earn back trust and it seems every step they take is in the wrong direction.

      • cantfoolme

        That school should have had an armed ,but capable officer, years ago. at least 15 years ago. that district is a joke and wayne highlands is even more of a joke. total shame.

    • BZ22

      Just think how much this little caper will raise those premiums on that liability insurance which isn’t cheap to begin with?

  • BZ22

    They would not say how the gun went off or what the school police officer was doing at the time which leaves us with speculation and imagination as to how it happened!!

  • Concerned Teacher

    Paul Semler, a retired state police trooper, has been suspended indefinitely after the incident happened in his office at the school at about 11 a.m. Wednesday. No one was injured in the shooting.

    “It’s bizarre and unreal,” said school board member A.J. Gaudenzi on Thursday, referring to why an officer would be cleaning a loaded gun in his office during work hours.


    • realist

      Don’t forget..AJ has an ax to grind with Law Enforcement. He wants to be the first to “tell all”. Also the school is being extremely transparent. It’s up to the DA now as to what happens. That being said…I don’t think anything can ever be done to quell the conspiracy theories. I wasn’t there, nor were you

  • Mike

    A quick investigation, says the DA. Not a thorough one? Push papers, spin the facts, sweep it under the rug, and get these kids back in harm’s way.

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