A school administrator and the resource officer, a member of the Bartlett Police Department, immediately located the suspect and searched him on Thursday, May 4. The officer secured the gun, and the student didn’t put up a struggle or create an incident, according to Jason Sykes, communications coordinator for Bartlett City Schools.
The officer arrested the student — a senior on the brink of graduation — and immediately escorted him off campus.
Sykes said, “You can imagine instances such as this from a school district’s perspective are just simply not tolerated at Bartlett High School or any of our schools. The safety and security of our students is of the utmost importance. I think it’s an unfortunate situation.”
Students’ class schedules vary depending on their exam schedules, and the suspect had about three days of class left at the time of his arrest. He was less than two weeks from the May 15 graduation ceremony. There has been no report of the student’s motive, Sykes said.
Weapons at Bartlett High are very rare, according to Sykes, but the school has protocols and plans in place for just such incidents. Professionals such as Shelby County Sheriff’s Office deputies or BPD officers serve as school resource officers with the training and experience to respond.
“I think the way it was handled was very quick and very professional,” Sykes said. “The resource officer quickly took control of the situation.”
Sykes also praised the administration’s responsiveness, and he reserved special thanks for the student who alerted them to the potential danger.
“This is a prime example of why we encourage students to come forward when we hear about something inappropriate, especially when it impacts school safety,” he said.
Parents were notified of the arrest and gun seizure, but the school wasn’t placed on lockdown on May 4. The next day, the school was at full operation, as usual.
CAROLYN BAHM is the editor of The Bartlett Express. Contact her at (901) 433-9138 or via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.