Walking into school at Albany High and each of the district’s middle schools is much like walking through security at Albany International Airport. Backpacks are inspected, students walk through metal detectors and are then waned if necessary.
Still, weapons have managed to make their way on to school grounds. After three recent incidents, the district is tightening security even more.
On December 13, 2018, a high schooler was let in by another random student through a side door. That allowed the student to avoid the main entry metal detectors, sneaking in a loaded BB gun. As a direct response, some 30 doors at the high school were outfitted with alarms over the holiday break.
“If that door is opened, there’s an alarm that sounds, and that will be active as soon as tomorrow [Wednesday],” said Kaweeda Adams, Superintendent of Albany City Schools.
According to Ron Lesko, a spokesperson for the district, the following week a student at O’Neal Middle School walked through the front entry metal detectors with a BB gun in their backpack. The alarm went off, but the hall monitor never stopped the student.
That employee remains on administrative leave pending an investigation.
That same week, Adams said another middle school student was found with a knife. However, because of the ceramic material is was made of, it was undetected.
“So, what we have done is we have re-calibrated our metal detectors so that we can pick up some of those items that may be right at that threshold,” said Superintendent Adams.
She went on to say that she does not believe that the weapons were brought in for malicious purposes but instead for self defense.
“Sometimes our students face challenges out in the community and they’ll bring items with them thinking that they’re going to be able to protect themselves,” said Superintendent Adams.
School officials tell NEWS10 ABC both of the BB Guns resembled .45 caliber handguns and if they were mistaken for an actual weapon, it could have been even more dangerous.
Adams says she wants students to know that rather than resolving issues themselves, they’re urged to instead reach out to the adults on campus. To help with that effort, the district is currently working to develop an anonymous tip line.