Two area middle schools were locked down yesterday after separate incidents prompted administrators in the Anne Arundel and Harford county districts to take extra precautions and notify parents.
Aberdeen Middle School is being guarded by police today after several current and former students are said to have threatened administrators and vandalized the campus.
And Marley Middle School in Glen Burnie was locked down yesterday morning when a teenage boy was seen about a half-mile from the school with what appeared to be a handgun. As of late afternoon, police had not found the youth.
The Harford County middle school will be on modified lockdown today after five teenagers were arrested on trespassing charges yesterday. Students will not be permitted outdoors for physical education, and Aberdeen police officers will patrol the campus.
All five teenagers are 13 or 14 years old and were past or present students at the middle school, said Sgt. Fred Budnick, an Aberdeen Police spokesman.
"These kids do know each other," said Budnick, adding that they did not appear to belong to a gang.
Trouble began Wednesday afternoon, when a student saw a female teacher throw into the trash can a blue cloth that was lying in the hallway. The student told the woman that he was offended and became verbally abusive, said Harford County schools spokesman Don Morrison. The teenager was taken to the main office, where he reportedly was disorderly and threatening to an administrator.
About 3 p.m. Wednesday, the student returned to the school with a friend, who did not have permission to be on campus, and they are said to have kicked in five windows. They fled before officers arrived but were arrested yesterday when a school resource officer found them and another student on the baseball field bleachers.
The two vandalism suspects were detained in a juvenile facility, and the other student was released.
Yesterday morning, two different teenagers who did not have permission to be on school property were also arrested on trespassing charges but were released, Budnick said.
In Glen Burnie, police responded swiftly to a report that about 8 a.m., a teenage boy was seen on Marley Neck Boulevard - about a half-mile from Marley Middle - taking what appeared to be a gun out of his pocket and twirling it, said Cpl. Mark Shawkey, an Anne Arundel County police spokesman.
"At this point, we have more questions than answers," Shawkey said. "As a precaution, we alerted the district."
Teachers and administrators at Marley Middle, 10 Davis Court, escorted more than 900 students into the middle school as they arrived about 8:20 a.m. A patrol officer was also stationed at the school for added safety, and police cruisers canvassed the area.
Classes went on as usual, school spokesman Anthony Ruffin said, but all entrances were locked and all outside activities were canceled.
As a precaution, police also patrolled the area around two other Glen Burnie schools, Marley Glen Special School and Marley Elementary. The school system sent phone-alert messages to more than 1,100 parents telling them of the lockdown at Marley Middle and urging them not to pick up their children from the schools in a panic.
Sun reporter Bradley Olson contributed to this article.