By RASHAD ROLLE
Tribune Staff Reporter
A SEVENTH grade male student of AF Adderley Junior High School brought a gun on the school’s campus Monday and was arrested by police, officials confirmed yesterday.
Another male student is also being questioned by police.
Although the incident occurred on Monday, police did not release an official report on the matter until Tuesday evening. Police said they did not find any ammunition for the weapon.
Expressing outrage, Joan Knowles-Turnquest, the acting president of the Bahamas Union of Teachers (BUT), said: “There could have been a death.”
“We could have heard the sirens of police going down the road to pick up a dead body, someone’s mother, sister, brother or child,” she added.
Education Director Lionel Sands told The Tribune that police took the gun and the student who had it away after another student told a teacher the boy had a weapon in his bag.
“(The student) was not brandishing the gun,” Mr Sands explained.
He added that the “standard process” was followed in responding to the situation.
“The student will be kept away and given the necessary counseling after police do what they have to do,” he said.
Students were not sent home after the discovery of the gun, Mr Sands said, although news of the matter appeared to spread widely on the school’s campus.
“No one was in danger,” Mr Sands said.
Nonetheless, Ms Knowles-Turnquest said teachers at the school “are very much shaken up over it.”
One school official who did not want to be named said the student likely had the weapon, described as an “old, rusty gun,” on him during a general assembly on Monday morning.
Since the incident, the school’s staff members have had multiple meetings to become informed about what happened and to collectively determine how to increase school safety and security.
The incident came just weeks after a stabbing incident at Government High School drew national attention. The incident left three students injured.
Marvin Dames, the former deputy commissioner of police and the Free National Movement’s candidate for Mount Mariah, called for metal detectors to be placed at entrances to every junior and senior high school in the country in the wake of that incident, a proposal that was criticised by National Security Minister Dr Bernard Nottage during last week’s Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) convention.
But Mrs Knowles-Turnquest said yesterday that schools need metal detectors “and more.”
“The fact that you have a weapon on campus tells me you are planning to use it,” she said. “The teachers are very much shaken up over it. They don’t know whether he wanted to shoot a student or a teacher. First the incident at GHS and now this. And there are others that are not reported. It’s symptomatic of what is going on in our country. Until the government of the day takes hold and control of crime in the country we cannot see it decreasing on the school campus. What we see playing out is a reflection of what is happening in the country. We need administrations who will have a zero tolerance approach to even the most minor infractions in the schools. We recommend to the ministry that it look at those administrators who exemplify a zero tolerance approach to violence on campuses and emulate that,” she said.
According to police, “as a result of a professional intervention by school officials,” officers went to the junior high school’s temporary location off Tonique Williams-Darling Highway on Monday, where they uncovered the weapon on school premises.