Increased security after gun incident at school

November 25, 2008 7:43:11 PM PST
An Oakland middle school is stepping up security after a loaded gun went off inside a classroom last week. The 13-year-old boy accused of bringing that gun to school is facing serious charges.

The hallways and playground at Cole Middle School were empty Tuesday. The students and teachers are off on Thanksgiving vacation. But when school reopens on Monday morning, there will be new security measures in place.

All backpacks will be checked and students inspected with metal detection wands. These protocols are being put into place just a week after a gun went off inside an eighth grade classroom while class was in session.

School district administrator, Brad Stam, says it is a rare move for Oakland. Only a handful of continuation schools use metal detectors.

"What we have to weigh in the balance is creating this sense of safety and security, so that in fact learning can take place, versus a sense of are we creating an overly restricted environment," said Stam.

No one was injured when the gun went off. The 32-caliber bullet struck a radiator.

However, parents were outraged. At a recent meeting at Cole, they asked school officials to implement tougher security measures, including using metal detectors.

Taiwan McCullough told ABC7 News last week her 13-year-old daughter was in the classroom when the gun went off.

"You send them to school for education and then they're in class with kids that have guns. Why do the kids have the guns in class?" said McCullough.

School officials will reevaluate the use of metal detectors and bag checks in 30 days.

School board member Noel Gallo says it is a sad sign of the times.

"It's sad that it happened. It's unfortunate. But if we need to take drastic measures to protect our kids in school, we do," said Gallo.

The 13-year-old boy who brought the gun to school is being held in custody on five misdemeanor gun possession charges. He also recently was charged in connection with two robberies, including one in which a victim was abducted.


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