To the editor:
On Monday, a 14 year-old student was arrested at Alexandria City High School’s Minnie Howard ninth grade campus. Only parents of Minnie Howard students received communication of what many parents felt was a “form letter.” Parents of ACPS students at the main King Street campus and other ACPS parents were not informed and are consistently not alerted to the dangers in the middle or high schools. The email noted that the gun was unloaded and the weapon was secured.
But many questions remain unanswered, such as: Did the student have bullets, too? Did the student have plans to use this weapon on another student or a teacher? Did the student have a prior disciplinary record that was ignored by ACHS and ACPS? Thank goodness the weapon was confiscated and secured. But how many more weapons aren’t detected?
If ACPS is true to form, they will not give parents additional information and this inci- dent will be swept under the rug. Meanwhile, the School Board and City Council continue to drag their feet regarding weapons detection for the middle and high schools.
Obviously current gun laws aren’t enforced. If they were, a 14-year-old would not have had possession of a gun, and would not have had possession inside a public school. Our elected officials should be pushing for weapons detection immediately to prevent a tragedy in our city’s public schools.
Why won’t they approve weapons detection? Is it because the 14 arrests since Feb. 1 at ACHS might double if there is a weapons detection system? Does anyone care about the report from the SLEP committee or the report released by ACPS as part of the SRO MOU? The report released by ACPS showed a decrease in the number of incidents reported, but an increase in the severity of the incidents, as the city arrests records show.
Is the public image of ACPS more important than the safety of our students, teachers and staff? Every citizen in this city should be in an uproar demanding that our teachers, staff and students have safe schools, before it’s too late.
-Molly Kaiman ACPS Parent