Schools searched

Published 12:00 am Friday, April 27, 2007

Officials hit local campuses



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A joint surprise search for guns and drugs at three area high schools netted a little pot and some brass knuckles, but no assault rifles, shotguns or semiautomatic handguns.

One principal has been dealing with something he called just as dangerous &045; rumors.

Meadowview Christian School was searched Thursday and the timing couldn’t have been worse, according to Michael Gaylor, headmaster.

Gaylor said the sight of Selma Police and Dallas County Sheriff’s cruisers on campus had their phones ringing because a senior suspended this week was rumored to have mentioned getting a gun and coming back on campus to &8220;shoot the place up.&8221;

Completing his third year at the helm of the private Christian school of 288 students, Gaylor said the rumor mill &045; as usual &045; spread partial truths and damaged innocent people.

&8220;The boy made no threats whatsoever,&8221; Gaylor said. &8220;He lost his temper in class. He slammed his fist into the wall a time or two. He was sent home. He’s a senior, and he’ll be gone for a while. But he’s expected to graduate with his class.&8221;

In the wake of the shooting by a lone gunman at Virginia Tech who claimed the lives of 32 students before killing himself last week, student safety at high school and college campuses have been under scrutiny.

&8220;If there had been a gun or talk of a gun, I would have called the police. I would have let the police deal with him,&8221; Gaylor said. &8220;I’ve had more problems dealing with rumors than with anything else.&8221;

Assistant District Attorney Shannon Lynch accompanied officers during their searches. Michael Jackson said the purpose was to make schools safer.

&8220;We want to make sure that the kids have a safe and drug-free environment to learn,&8221; Jackson said. &8220;These raids at the schools are going to be ongoing and random to make sure of that. Hopefully, we can do this at other schools in the future.&8221;

At each school, students were assembled and told of the intentions of the Selma Narcotics Unit, Dallas County Sheriffs Deputies, Tuscaloosa County Sheriffs Department K-9, and agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives. After students were dismissed officers discovered &8220;three dime bags&8221; of marijuana left in the bleachers at one school.

Lynch said Thursday’s visits to a private school, a county school and a city school were &8220;just a warning shot in the air.&8221;

&8220;It could be Dallas County High School next time, or we could be back at Meadowview Christian,&8221; Lynch said. &8220;This was a test run. We didn’t want to make any arrests. This is going to happen a lot more often, and we want every school to believe it could be them the next time.&8221;