GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Parents, teachers and administrators at two Grand Rapids schools are working together to find solutions to prevent guns in classrooms.
A public safety meeting was held Thursday night for Burton Middle School and Burton Elementary School.
In January, a loaded gun was found in the backpack of a student after a parent contacted the school. Another weapon was found in October when a school resource officer confiscated an unloaded gun, a magazine and ammunition.
“It’s literally been two times in 90 days. I fear for my son. I fear for everyone else’s children,” parent Cathy Bender said.
“You guys have a lot of security, but you don’t know everything that is coming in here. A lot of it starts at home. The parents aren’t controlling their children,” she said.
Parents like Bender want more measures in place to prevent guns in classrooms.
“My request is to put metal detectors at the entrance,” parent Luisar De Leon Lopez said. “Because this school already has red flags … if it’s not done, it’s going to be a mass shooting and we don’t want that. Our safety, your safety is the most important thing.”
Clear backpacks and metal detectors were mentioned several times.
“There is research that shows that there is some effectiveness of random and unannounced weapon searches as it relates to schools,” said Larry Johnson, the chief of staff and the executive director of public safety for Grand Rapids Public Schools. “So the fact is metal detectors are a way to deter individuals from bringing weapons into a school environment, I would agree.”
Everyone agreed safety is the most important and doesn’t just fall on the school.
“Check their backpacks. If you have to check, just check on them. As much as they have responsibility when they are here, we have a responsibility when they are at home,” one concerned parent said.
Administrators say communication is the first step to make Burton safer.
“I think it’s important to get all different ideas and we are looking at various different models of what is going to be the best most effective way,” GRPS Superintendent Leadriane Roby said. “And again there is nothing that is fool proof, but it’s important to have a combination of different structures, technical structures, but then also those relationship structures that will keep children safe in our schools.”