Parents question school safety

ESSEX, Md. - Football practice took over the fields at Stemmers Run Middle School Tuesday night.  The earlier incident of a gun inside a classroom didn't stop the young players from practicing.

"Two incidents in the beginning of the school year, it's definitely tough," said Justin Ittner, a Baltimore County parent.  

Baltimore County Police Chief Jim Johnson says an 8th grader waved a loaded .25 caliber semi-automatic gun at his teacher and his classmates, before pointing it at himself.

This follows the shooting at Perry Hall High on the first day of school.

"This is a middle school.  There are ten year olds, turning 11 years old in this school," said Misti Pfarr, a Baltimore County parent.    

The incident has the Chief Johnson devising other safety precautions.

"The metal wand security devices will be used only when a police officer has reasonable suspicion that a crime is about to occur," said Chief Johnson.    

"How do you know a kid's suspicious, because they have long hair or black hair?  What is suspicious," said Pfarr.   

The idea is a tough sell for some Baltimore County parents.

"It's going to be hard in my opinion for them to see what's suspicious.  Kids could be walking in the school normally and have the gun in their book bag.  How do you know if they're suspicious or not," said Ittner.

"I really don't like it.  It makes me really uncomfortable," said Amii Vincent, a Baltimore County parent.     

Chief Johnson says he will also increase the number of School Resource Officers.  Right now, there are about 60 officers between the middle and high schools.

"I would say good idea," said Nicole Pyle, a parent.    

More police officers inside schools and the possibility of being subjected to a metal detector are the immediate changes.

"It may deter.  It may deter.  Who would think they would have guns in the schools," said Pfarr. 

The superintendent of schools says a comprehensive study may bring about other improvements.

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