Selma school officials react to gun incident

Published 8:26pm Thursday, December 20, 2012

By Katie Wood and Sarah Cook

The Selma Times-Journal

After a loaded gun was found in a Selma High School student’s backpack Thursday, resulting in a school-wide lockdown, members of the Selma City School Board and PTO officials are looking to re-evaluate current security measures.

“I am outraged that it happened,” school board president Henry Hicks Sr. said. “I don’t know how it happened, but we are going to investigate. We’re going to find out what went on and how it went on. We’re looking at some other measures — I’ve notified the vice-chair to notify the board members that we may have to call a meeting Monday afternoon to see what steps we need to take to continue the conversation that we’ve already had about safety issues at our schools.”

No shots were fired, but the school was locked down once the weapon was found.

Hicks explained the policy for lockdown is, “once that signal is given, every door in the school system is locked down. Every student is in a room, in a supervised area with a teacher or a faculty member until the police arrive.”

Hicks said that while he did not yet know how the handgun was able to pass through the school’s security, he was appalled that it happened.

“At this point, what went on in the other system [in Newtown, Conn.], we’re all afraid that it may happen here. And with this to come up, this is just like … I don’t know,” Hicks said. “We’ve got to find out what our security system is doing, our security folks, do we need to have a changed measure as to how kids enter the schools? We really don’t want to make it a prison, but we have to make sure that our kids and our faculty and our staff members are safe.”

Dexter Patterson, president of the Selma High School PTO, agreed.

“My thoughts are for the safety of the children,” Patterson said. “I know the school is equipped with alarms and I know they have the right equipment in place. I’m really confident about that, and I know we have police on the campus keeping security.”

Patterson said he is confident school officials took every precaution to ensure the students are safe.

“We are doing everything that we possibly can to try to curb crime in our school system, but it’s going to take all of the community effort — and that’s from parents, students and everybody,” Hicks said. “We’re going to do whatever we possibly can to make sure these students are safe, and our faculty members are safe. Even with all that’s happening, sometimes things do happen, and it’s sad to say that it slips through the cracks. So now what we’re trying to do is make sure that we close those cracks so that cannot happen again.”

Hicks said there must be a 48-hour notice before a meeting can be held.

“If we do decide to have [a meeting], we will publicize it on Friday, then we’ll have one of Monday afternoon, if the board members feel that it is necessary,” Hicks said. “I pray that we do have one. [We need to] book an emergency meeting to just have a conversation about safety.”

Editor's Picks