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Teacher's Aide Accused Of Bringing Loaded Gun To School Pleads Not Guilty

Gillian J. Jeffords
Gillian J. Jeffords Photo Credit: Clarkstown Police Department

The former BOCES teacher’s aide who brought a gun into a Rockland County school was back in court on Friday.

Warwick resident Gillian Jeffords, who worked at the Jesse J. Kaplan School in West Nyack, pleaded not guilty to criminal possession of a weapon at the Rockland County Courthouse following her arrest earlier this year.

Jeffords, 24, was arrested on March 28, when another employee noticed a handbag that contained a handgun and contacted police. The gun was later identified as a black Ruger 9mm handgun, which was found in a staff closet.

When the gun was found, no students were in the classroom, though the school initiated its lockdown protocol. The investigation into the gun ultimately determined it was Jeffords. Once the gun was secured, the lockdown was lifted.

Police said that “at no point was this weapon displayed or used in a threatening manner by the teacher’s aide.” It was determined that Jeffords had a valid license for the weapon in both New York and Pennsylvania, but it is illegal in New York to have a gun on school property.

In response to her criminal charges, Jefford's father started a GoFundMe page to offset her legal costs, which has only raised $2,855 of its $20,000 goal in four months.

The GoFundMe page noted that Jeffords is “an active competitive shooter, a member of GSSF, and a regular winter league competitor. She applied for, and received, her unrestricted carry permit shortly after her 22nd birthday, in accordance with New York law. Gillian started shooting at about age 12 and has gained proficiency in pistol, rifle, and archery.”

The BOCES school where Jeffords worked, and the gun was found, is for students with Autism, cognitive disabilities, medical fragility and/or multiple disabilities.

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