TOWSON, Md. (WMAR) - At a special press conference called in response to two recent incidents involving guns in Baltimore County schools, Baltimore County executive Kevin Kamenetz announced there would be a stronger police presence in schools.
Officials said police officers in schools would now have hand-held metal detectors to be used on an as needed basis.
The announcement came hours after a teacher wrestled a loaded handgun away from a student at Stemmers Run Middle School. Officials say the teacher immediately reacted as the student pulled the gun out of his pocket at the end of a class and pointed it at a classmate and then at himself. Officials say the female teacher restrained the student until he could be taken into custody.
"The teacher began to grapple with the individual," Police Chief James Johnson said. "...Knocking the handgun out of his hand and to the floor. We know that damage occurred to the gun when it was knocked to the floor."
Chief Johnson said the weapon did not discharge, and the teacher called for help as she held the student. The chief also said if investigators find out the weapon was not secured properly, the responsible party will be charged.
The gun, Chief Johnson said, was small enough to fit into the palm of a hand and about the size of a cell phone -- a .25 caliber. He said the student also had a six or seven-inch hunting knife in his possession.
Officials say the school was placed on lockdown after the incident. Classes at Stemmers Run were not dismissed as a result.
"We did feel... that instruction did not need to be impacted for the day," said Baltimore County School District superintendent Dallas Dance. "However, I did want to make sure the individual students in that classroom received counseling services that day."
Dance said students in the class were immediately forwarded to school social workers and crisis teams.
"We will do every single thing in our power to make sure every single school remains safe," Dance said.
Sixty resources officers currently work in Baltimore County schools.
"We're going to allocate resources in whatever capacity we need to," Kamentez said.
The incident at Stemmers Run Middle School makes the second in recent weeks in which a teacher intervened and prevented what officials say could have become a much more serious incident.
"For the second time in a manner of weeks a Baltimore County teacher has displayed extraordinary courage to protect a school," Kamentez said. "...Like our public servants, teachers don't think of their personal safety first. They think of the safety of the students. Again, one of our teachers acted heroically."
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