Today’s news:

Surprise scanning - Metal detectors at local H.S.

Temporary metal detectors were installed at John Dewey High School Friday after a report of a gun on campus caused an emergency lockdown for upwards of three hours. Department of Education officials said that “unannounced scanning” will continue at the school for the near future, even though cops have apprehended the teenager who put the entire school in a panic Thursday by bringing a gun to class. Officials said that the lockdown occurred after a teacher reportedly saw a gun fall out of the student’s knapsack just before the dismissal bell. When the bell rang, the teen ran off, and could not be found after a lockdown – when students are sequestered and secured in their classrooms until police can make a thorough search for the gunman – was called. Sources with ties to the school, located at 50 Avenue X said that the teen, believed to be a sophomore, had reportedly brought the gun to school because to defend himself from bullies and gang members that he was trying to distance himself from. Cops could not confirm the rumors. They also could not confirm that the teen had a gun at all. When he was ultimately apprehended on Monday, the teen didn’t have a gun on him. There were also some conflicting reports about the teen having the gun in the first place. “Some students said that the teen had the gun, others said that he didn’t have a gun,” said one police source. “In the end, no gun was found. But they had ID [on] who had caused everything.” As the lockdown progressed, cops and school safety agents commenced a floor-by-floor search for the student. Community Affairs officers were called into keep a growing number of concerned parents at bay. About two dozen parents raced to the school to see if their children were all right. “It was pretty nerve-wracking,” recalled one Community Affairs officer dispatched to the scene. “We would get some information from inside and then we would go back and tell them what was going on. But some of the kids inside had cell phone and were able to tell their parents that they were all right.” After turning up nothing, the 3,100-student body was released from their classrooms. No injuries were reported. As of this writing, cops had not charged the teen who sparked the lockdown, because they never found the gun he was reportedly carrying. Local legislators are hailing the school’s quick response to the gun report, as well as the temporary extra security measures that the school has undergone since the lockdown. “It’s better to be safe than sorry,” said City Councilmember Domenic Recchia. “If they [school officials] didn’t do this, then people would have been asking why didn’t they take these precautions?” DOE officials said that the new precautions in no way mean that permanent metal detectors will be installed in the school. “Dewey High School does not have permanent metal detectors and I am not aware of the school receiving permanent ones in the near future,” DOE spokesperson Margie Feinberg told this paper. “There will continue to be unannounced scanning.” Assemblymember William Colton says parents want metal detectors installed at Dewey. “It appears to be a consensus developing that there should be detectors put in,” he said. “The parents are very worried, very upset.” “It’s kind of a sad statement that schools have to have metal detectors to keep guns and weapons out,” he continued, “but if that is what’s necessary then that’s what has to be done.” Until a decision is made about whether to install metal detectors, “I believe temporarily there may be portable detectors put in there,” Colton explained. Still, there are those inside the school who said that the metal detectors won’t work. “The students go through the metal detectors, but then they’re allowed to go out of the building and come back in,” said one school staffer, who wished not to be named. “Teens could plant weapons outside and then bring them in after they go through the metal detectors.” This is the second time in recent months that a gun was found on school grounds. When the gun was discovered last time, temporary metal detectors were also installed, but removed over time, officials said. — With Michele De Meglio

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