COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Multiple incidents of students bringing loaded guns to Columbus City Schools have prompted the district to buy metal detectors.
After a 17-year-old boy brought a loaded handgun to South High School Monday, district officials told NBC4 that at least 60 metal detectors will be installed in high schools throughout the city — up from the one the district currently has. Officials don’t know when the detectors will arrive or when they’ll be installed.
Chris Baker, the district’s director of safety and security, said the district has been rotating the metal detector every week throughout the city’s high schools. He said that Monday’s incident could have ended much worse.
“Yesterday’s was caught doing some good work by our staff and communication from our students,” Baker said.
According to police, the suspect left South High School on the 1100 block of Ann Street and then returned at approximately 1:55 p.m., when he was stopped and searched by school staff. Police said staff members found a loaded 9mm pistol concealed on the teen. Staff members were able to take the firearm before the teen fled the school.
Police said they recovered the handgun, but they remain searching for the teen.
Monday’s incident was at least the third time this year someone has brought a gun onto Columbus city school grounds.
In September, a high school student was arrested after bringing a handgun to East High School. Police said they recovered the gun with 33 live rounds of ammunition in an extended gun magazine.
The same day, staff at Whetstone High School found a handgun with three rounds of ammunition in a student’s backpack.
At a Board of Education meeting in October, Baker presented compiled data of “major incidents” at Columbus City Schools within the first month of the fall semester. There were 48 fights and 14 assaults at high schools in the district, with 17 incidents classified as “other” — meaning they were threats or weapons-related incidents.
“We’re looking at the fights, we’re looking at disruptive behavior and just trying to identify through our data what day and time those things are happening and then we have to deploy our resources there to help mitigate some of those situations,” Baker said.
Baker said the punishment for bringing a weapon into school depends on the situation and is handled by the school’s principal. He said he hopes the metal detectors will act as deterrents.
“One of the things that is most important is that we communicate to our families what we are doing to make our children safe every day when they come to school,” Baker said,
CCS continues to use wand detectors at football games and will use them at basketball games.