Still no answers in Selma High gun incident

Published 8:41pm Saturday, January 26, 2013

The main question being asked on Thursday, Dec. 20 — the day a chrome-plated and loaded handgun was discovered on the campus of Selma High School — was just how a gun was able to navigate its way through school security and allegedly find its way in the hands of a student and in the face of another.

Oddly enough, that question — more than a month later — remains unanswered.

“All the juveniles are telling us is that they were wanded,” said Selma Chief of Police William T. Riley. “We still don’t know how or who brought that gun onto campus. What we do know is the gun was discovered and those two students are involved.”

The Times-Journal attempted to contact Selma High School officials and those with the Selma City School Board to find out what has become of those students, but messages left with Superintendent Gerald Shirley and Selma High principal Wanda McCall were not returned.

Riley said the handgun was sent to the state’s forensic lab in Montgomery, where it has gone through an extensive Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearm screening and other tests to see if the gun was connected to any crimes.

“At this point, the gun remains at the lab in Montgomery, but we did discover the person the gun belonged to. We are continuing to investigate what connection that person, the gun and the juveniles exactly have,” Riley said.

Earlier this month, the school board — during their work session — engaged in a discussion about the school’s security with members of the school staff, the security company and members of the Selma Police Department.

Riley, who was unable to attend the meeting due to having to attend the Selma City Council meeting, which was scheduled at the same time, did say the results of the meeting were “positive.”

“There are things about their plan they are going to continue to evaluate and what they need to do about security,” Riley said. “As for us, we already have training in place for how to deal with an active shooter situation and believe we have a lot to offer if called upon.”

On Friday, Jan. 4, the Times-Journal submitted a Freedom of Information request to the Selma City School Board, requesting the following items, it felt were public information.

Those items included: Selma City School System’s outline for security measures and security plan, Selma City School System’s policies for handling issues of security (ie. Lockdown procedures, weapons on campus, acts of violence); copy of Selma High School’s Student Handbook; name of the firm or company used to hire security guards at Selma High School; breakdown of all costs involving security guards at Selma High School and an explanation of the type of bonding and training involving the security guards at Selma High School.

To date, the Times-Journal has not been given an update on the status of the Freedom of Information request, but was told by Selma City School Board attorney Katy Campbell that “Mr. Shirley was working on it.” Again, messages left for Shirley Friday were not returned.

Campbell also said the request for an outline of the school’s security measures and security plans would likely be denied.

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