BHS student arrested with pistol at school

BHS quote2“Gun at school” is never a phrase parents want to hear, but a Bartlett High School student made that fear come true on Jan. 9. Luckily, the weapon was not fired.

Students told administrators that a 16-year-old had a loaded handgun at school, earning a quick response by the School Resource Officer, Bartlett Police Officer Oscar May.

The incident happened outside the school and after the school day had ended. The police report said the boy at first resisted a pat-down search and scuffled with May for several minutes. Once the officer seized control, he found a loaded .32-caliber semi-automatic pistol tucked into the right side of the boy’s waistband. The pistol had one round in the chamber and one round in the magazine.

During the search, May also uncovered a clear bag containing marijuana and a joint in the boy’s possession.

The suspect brought the concealed pistol to school because he was afraid several people were going to attack him, according to the police report.

The suspect was taken to Juvenile Court.

BHS principal Ken Demetriou said it’s only the second firearm found on campus in the past 31 years. A few were found back in the ’80s and about 10 years ago stashed near school grounds — close to Food Rite or the old Methodist parking lot, he said.

Demetriou said in a letter to parents the day after the Jan. 9 incident, “While there was no actual incident involving the gun, I want to be very clear that weapons of any kind are strictly prohibited on campus. In addition to being arrested, this student will be disciplined in accordance with board policy.”

Consequences for this type of violation generally include a 180-day out-of-school suspension, he said. Either the marijuana or the gun alone would have earned this punishment.

Demetriou commended the students who came forward to report the weapon being on campus. “The teachers keep their ears open, and the students do an outstanding job, because they want to go to a safe school.”

Almost always, such reports turn out to be just hearsay and no violations are found. But the school takes safety seriously and investigates all reports.

“Anytime something like this happens, there’s always a heightened sense of awareness,” Demetriou said. “We do an outstanding job as faculty. You really worry about intruders more than students.”