Schools tighten security after gun scare

JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - Strict security measures are at schools in Jackson County just one day after a Vancleave High School student allegedly brought a gun to campus. School officials said the 15-year-old boy is not back in class after being arrested for showing classmates a Colt .45 automatic pistol then calling his mother to check him out of school.

Jackson County Sheriff's deputies had a heavy presence in and around Vancleave High on Thursday. They were making sure nearly 800 teenagers were safe and following the rules one day after a student decided to reportedly sneak a gun in the school.

"As we understand it now, the student just brought it in his book bag," Superintendent Barry Amacker said.

"I would have never expected anything like that to happen here," parent Regina Ladner said.

Ladner said she is relieved to hear that the teen's classmates told school officials about the gun before anyone got hurt, but now she worries about copycats.

"I feel like I don't want to send my children to school anymore. How did the kid get into the school with a gun to begin with," said Ladner.

WLOX News posed that same question to Sheriff Charles Britt who is helping lead the investigation.

"That is what we are still working on. We have two investigators doing an outstanding job. They are putting the pieces together now, but it will take a little while to come together. We have some phone records and things like that to research. They will get it together and then we will do a follow up," said Britt.

Signs are already posted at schools prohibiting dangerous weapons on campus. Amacker said the district also has three resource officers.

"With our district funds, the grant and the sheriff's department, we have been able to get the three. So hopefully all those three will continue to strengthen the fund source for us," Amacker said.

Looking at more ways to tighten security is the focus now.

"Obviously, anytime you have an incident we are going to review our policies with us, the school system will review their policies, and we will go from there to make any recommendations or corrections that need to be added to the policy. We need to come together to make sure and secure our schools and children," Britt said.

Amacker said the district has zero tolerance for weapons on campus. He also points out that the school board will have to make the decision to expel the student. The next board meeting is April 24.

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