Gun incident at John Marshall prompts security changes

Posted at 12:55 AM, Feb 27, 2013

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR)--A meeting of many minds at John Marshall High Tuesday night, where school security changes may eventually affect your child’s school if you live in the city of Richmond.

There was plenty of reaction to an incident involving a gun and bad weather last Friday and the results are in:  a new policy is effective no matter what the weather.

"If you get a little wet or get a little cold,” said one parent who didn’t give his name.  “It's something the kids brought on themselves."

Now every John Marshall High school student will have to walk through a metal detector before heading to class.  The policy used to be based on weather and random spot checks but because of that gun and altercation, the change has been made.

"Policy decisions and changes are made so they're applicable to all of our schools," said Jeffrey Bourne.

The changes do come at a cost: to offset dollar amounts right now, school administrators have asked for teacher volunteers to help get the children through security lines, lines that don't exist in other Metro Richmond school systems.

Chesterfield, Hanover, and Henrico all report they have resource officers in every middle and high school, but no metal detectors.  Richmond has seven metal detector locations, in four high schools and three middle schools, with resource officers in all of them.

"Not just on our part, students, staff did excellent," said Richmond Police Maj. Steve Drew.

Drew credits the capture of a gun-toting student to his peers willing to give up information.  Because of that, parents feel they literally dodged a bullet Friday and hope they've made it clear to school officials to do whatever it takes to keep kids safe.

"I feel better,” said parent Kimberly Bryant.  “But what will they do afterwards remains to be seen."

"I think things are sugar-coated for these kids,” said that first parent.  “Hold them responsible.  And as to the gun situation at the end of the day, that's our responsibility as parents, not yours."

There was a lot of discussion about budgets and whether or not the school had enough money set aside for safety.  Richmond School Superintendent Yvonne Brandon reassured the 40 or so parents in attendance, that the system would not cut corners when it comes to school safety.