School districts reviewing security procedures

MAUMELLE, Ark. (KTHV) - Schools all over the country on high alert after police say a student attacked at least 20 people with a knife in Pennsylvania.

Meanwhile, attention in our area on Maumelle High School after a scare of our own on Tuesday. A high school student is still in jail after allegedly bringing a gun to school, and police say he will not be getting out anytime soon.

Maumelle Police Officers were front and center on Wednesday at the high school. Usually the school only has one resource officer there at all times, but the day after a gun was found in a classroom, the school had between four and five.

"Anytime you have a significant event at a high school, tensions tend to be high, and we want to be here as a calming effect that is it," said Maumelle Police Department Captain Jim Hansard.

Hansard says, afterwards, his department talked about what happened, how they responded and what they should do differently. He added, it could not have turned out any better.

"You have to be fast," said Hansard. "You have to put the plan together on the spot and you have to act on that plan. We train over and over again on various scenarios."

At the entrance of Maumelle High School, there is a sign that says "any person choosing to enter the PCSSD property is subject to search." The school resource officer has a metal detector wand and will search students at random. They say they do random searches to keep the students guessing.

"I think we have great preventative things in place here and we will continue to do that," said Maumelle High School Principal Becky Guthrie.

This is Becky Guthrie's second year as principal here at Maumelle High School. She has children of her own that will soon be going to the high school. When she heard about a gun being found in a classroom, she says her first reaction was to make sure everyone was safe.

"Each one of these babies is my baby,"said Guthrie. "They have moms and dads that love them. They are precious. So I'm thinking I have to carry this out as if they are my own children."

The teen arrested in this case, James Austin, was already on probation for a drug possession charge. Police say after his arrest on Tuesday, he tested positive for having marijuana in his system at the jail. Austin will not be allowed to bond out of jail for 30 days.

"You have to take care of the safety of all 1,100 even the one who is the culprit needs to be take care of as well, but you have to send a message that this is not acceptable," said Guthrie. "We are not going to tolerate this at all."

On Wednesday morning, North Little Rock School district sent out an all staff e-mail highlighting points in their crisis manual as a refresher.

Little Rock School District says, "our campuses conduct regular scans and random checks of lockers as part of our ongoing safety and security policies and protocols. However, we also have security staff employed, where being mindful of and reviewing these types of incidents would fall within their scope of duties."

STORY: Student in custody after gun found at Maumelle High School


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