After gun brought in, is middle school safe? - WNEM TV 5


After gun brought in, is middle school safe?

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"We made a mistake and we understand we made a mistake," said Art O’Neal.

O’Neal is chief of security for Saginaw Public Schools.

He's answering our tough questions about the security breach at Thompson Middle School Monday.

That's when a 15-year-old student brought a gun to school. O'Neal said the student arrived at the school just before lunch and walked in through the front entrance.

"That particular entrance had a metal detector there. It had malfunctioned. So it was not working it was not on at that time. We later checked after the incident, made some adjustments and now it's working," O’Neal said.

O'Neal said the school was short a security person that day, the person responsible for watching the front entrance. Couple that with a metal detector that didn't work and you get the situation that played out Monday. O'Neal said that staff shortage, and the malfunctioning metal detector are two issues that have been addressed.

"That particular instrument was placed a little too close the metal door," O’Neal said. "And therefore it malfunctioned, it lit up all the time. So we had to move it further away from the door and get that adjustment taken care of. Change the sensing on it as well and now it's working perfectly."

O'Neal said everyone passing through metal detectors must empty their pockets if the device picks up something and every entrance into the middle school is secure.

O'Neal is quick to point out many students showed up for classes the next day despite the recent gun scare. He said he believes many in this community know how important school safety is to him and his staff.

"Whenever we make a mistake which is very, very seldom, very rare, we make the adjustments to make sure that everyone is safe. Not just students, but staff and visitors as well," O’Neal said. 

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