Baltimore high school student arrested after gun found in locker

A Baltimore high school student was arrested after police found a gun in the student’s locker — the third found in a city school so far this academic year, according to school system officials and police.

Police were executing a search warrant on the locker at Achievement Academy in the Hamilton Hills neighborhood when they found the gun Thursday morning, school officials said in a statement.

No threats had been made against anyone at the school, and the student, who was not identified, was arrested without incident, according to the statement.

Additional school officers were on hand Friday to review security protocols, the statement said.

The incident came a week after two students brought guns to Maree Garnett Farring Elementary/Middle School in Brooklyn. One of the guns was fired in a restroom. No one was injured in the incident, and school officials said the weapons “were not used to threaten anyone.”

At least three loaded guns were recovered from Baltimore City schools during the 2017-18 school year, school officials said.

The recent incidents are alarming, but not surprising given the unprecedented violence in Baltimore, said Sgt. Clyde Boatwright, president of the school police union.

September has been the most violent month in the city in more than a year. Last month saw 37 killings, with nearly half — 17 — happening in one week.

“Our kids are very smart, resourceful. They are not naive and blind to what’s going on around them,” Boatwright said.

The recent gun seizures, he said, “speaks to the level of violence we are now seeing in the city of Baltimore. It’s basically rubbing off into the schools.”

With Baltimore being one of the most violent cities in the country, Boatwright said students have to travel through unsafe neighborhoods just to get to school and sometimes feel they need protection just to get to school.

“In some cases, they want to protect themselves,” he said.

While there have been a number of mass shootings at schools across the country, city schools have been largely spared such violence, with the exception of disputes between students or unrelated violence near schools, he said.

Adults, he said, need to do more to make sure students feel safe.

“If a student doesn’t feel safe, they aren’t going to be successful,” he said. “How can you take a test if you are worried about getting home?”

Boatwright has been lobbying for school police officers to be allowed to carry guns while working inside schools, but the proposal faces community opposition.

Baltimore is the only jurisdiction in Maryland with a sworn school police force. In surrounding counties, local police or sheriff’s departments patrol schools and are allowed to carry their weapons.

The school board is hosting a forum next week to get public input on whether school officers should be armed. The board doesn’t have the power to change the law but can ask the legislature to do so.

Boatwright argued that city school police are hamstrung because they’re required to keep their guns locked in a safe when they are patrolling a school campus.

He recalled a recent incident when school police officers at Mergenthaler Vocational-Technical High School in Northeast Baltimore tried to help arrest a robbery suspect in the area. When the officers went to retrieve their guns, Boatwright said the safe was broken. He said the suspect got away and the officers had to have the maintenance department break the safe to retrieve their weapons.

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