SCS works to curb crime at schools - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

SCS works to curb crime at schools

(Source: WMC Action News 5) (Source: WMC Action News 5)
Laterrance Jones (Source: Shelby County Jail) Laterrance Jones (Source: Shelby County Jail)
MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Three known incidents at Shelby County Schools in 24 hours has the WMC Action News 5 investigators asking questions about school security.

After dismissal at Woodale High School on Wednesday, two students got into a fight and one was stabbed. A 17-year-old was charged in that incident.

On the same morning at Westwood High School, school security officers found a loaded handgun in a student's backpack.

According to Memphis Police Department, Jones was found with a loaded 25-caliber semi-automatic handgun and nearly two grams of marijuana. The gun and drugs were located just after 9 a.m.

The student, Laterrance Jones, 18, is out on bond but charged with carrying a weapon on school property, which is a felony.

Westwood High School parents were notified about the gun being found on campus in the following letter sent home:

Dear Parent or Guardian,

I am writing to inform you of a situation that occurred at our school this morning.

Today, the Shelby County Schools Security Officers assigned to our school discovered a student was in possession of a firearm during our routine metal detection. Officers immediately confiscated the weapon, and MPD was dispatched to the school. There was no actual incident involving the weapon, and there was no disruption to our school day. However, I want to be very clear that weapons of any kind are prohibited on our campus. This student has been arrested and will be disciplined in accordance with the district's zero tolerance policy.

The safety of our students and campus is among our highest priorities, and I want to commend our school officers for ensuring Westwood remains a safe learning environment.

Should you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact the school.

We appreciate your continued support of Westwood High School.

Sincerely,

Isaac White

Principal

“There's other ways around it. He ain't got to bring no weapon,” said Michael Sullivan, a former student.

According to Memphis Police Department, officers responded to Westwood High School during school hours 85 times this school year. From August 2014 to April 2015, there have been 10 alarm calls, nine fight calls, five disturbance calls, four armed party calls, two domestic calls, two suspicious persons calls and one shots fired call. The remainder were alarm calls, fire calls or hang up calls. All calls were to the school's address but not necessarily inside the school or even on school property.

“They're kids just like I am. I ain't too old myself, 19. But they are kids," said Sullivan, who is a former Westwood student who says it's too easy for things to happen in and outside of the school.

“It's easy to get stuff into school. I think they should patrol a little more often. Have more patrol and lookouts at school,” he added.

SCS says it has metal detectors and wands being used at every school to keep weapons out. 

In Jones' case, SCS says it was because of the metal detectors that he was stopped from entering the school with the gun. 

Sullivan says kids are bringing weapons to school because it gives off a perception of toughness. But, students need to know what they are doing to their future.

“It's hard out here already,” he said. “They don't need a felony on their record.

Shelby County Schools officials say they will continue to have an increased presence of law enforcement at those schools in hopes of prevening future crime. They hope parents continue to talk to their kids about weapons, drugs and appropriate behavior at school.

On Thursday morning, a fight broke out inside Sheffield High School. An ambulance was called, but no one was transported.

For an interactive map of incidents that have taken place at Mid-South schools so far this school year, click here.

Copyright 2015 WMC Action News 5. All rights reserved.

Powered by Frankly