Rockdale schools add security presence (December 17, 2012)
UPDATE: The student who brought the gun that accidentally fired in a boys bathroom of Conyers Middle School, putting the school on lockdown Tuesday afternoon, now faces criminal charges.
The 14-year-old eighth grader was arrested and detained at the Rockdale Youth Detention Center, according to Sheriff Eric Levett. He was charged with posession of firearms by a minor, posession of firearms on school property, reckless conduct and false statement.
The student reportedly did not have a history of disciplinary problems and reportedly made good grades. He obtained his father's gun and reportedly brought it to school to show off.
"He had no intentions of using a weapon. He just felt it was 'cool' to carry a weapon," said Levett. "It was discovered he only had one bullet, which matches the evidence."
There were several other students in the bathroom when the single bullet was loaded into the gun. The student was not aiming at anyone or anything, according to witnesses, when the gun reportedly accidentally went off.
Conyers Middle School students will not be allowed to bring bookbags and backpacks for the remaining several weeks of the school year, said RCPS spokesperson Cindy Ball. This typically happens during the last two weeks of the school year, but it has been moved up by about a week.
"We have increased our staff for the remainder of the week... we also are maintaining a heightened awareness during our transition periods - arrivals, dismissals... We have all teachers in the hallway monitoring. Making sure supervision isthere at all times," she said.
(May 5, 3:51 p.m.) Parents are being allowed to check their children out of Conyers Middle School after a gunshot heard this afternoon caused a school lockdown.
The line of concerned parents' cars waiting to pick up their children stretched across the street into the shopping center, which served as a staging ground for parents and media.
According to Rockdale County School System spokesperson Cindy Ball, a CMS employee heard the gunshot around 1:15 p.m. and notified administrators quickly, who notified school resource officers and law enforcement. The suspected student was put under custody.
The suspected firearm was recovered in a boys bathroom.
"With the SRO on scene, and deputies getting here, they were able to identify things pretty quickly. We're grateful for that," said Rockdale Sheriff Eric Levett.
Other details - such as the student's age, the type of firearm, where it came from, how the student obtained it, and whether there were other students in the bathroom - were not immediately available as the case is still under investigation, said Levett. It is also not known whether the student's parents could face charges.
The CMS principal sent out a message to parents that the situation was safe and no one was injured, said Ball.
"We do have a lot of supervision of students entering at the beginning of the day and exiting at the end of the day," said Ball. "We do have a lot of security measures in place; we have a controlled access to the building... With this investigation, we'll review those measures and make the adjustments necessary."
Levett was among those that responded to the scene of the 1999 Heritage High School shooting that left six injured.
"Protocol has been updated since then," he said. "Safety and training is always incorporated every year to better how we handle incidents in the school and how sheriff's offices and police department respond to those types of incidents. We constantly change those protocols on best practices.
The school system, RCSO and CPD participate in an active shooter excercise at a local school at least once a year, typically during summer or school breaks.
Levett continued, "I think the SRO on scene... and the school staff have done a great job in handling and getting this situation under control. That is the difference. I believe because of the protocols the school put in place and working with the sheriff's office and having that School Resource Officer on scene made this situation a whole lot better than the last situation."
Several parents expressed concern about multiple lockdowns that the school has gone through.
Afterwards, Ball said some of those are due to events outside the school. "A lot of those are precautionary lockdowns because of things happening in the community, not at the school."
Other parents said they heard about the situation through friends, internet or social media and only later recevied a message from the school.
"We do have a rapid communication system," said Ball. "However, it doesn't always beat Facebook and texting from students. We try to communicate as soon as we can... It's hard to beat Instagram and texting and other social medias that are very instant."
Some parents and relatives were able to communicate with students during the situation. Ashton Williams said his 13-year-old little sister, Michelle, told him that she was not scared. He added she wasn't scared of much. She was in band class at the time and didn't hear anything like a gunshot.
Mother Sophia Brown rushed over when her friend got word from an employee of a nearby store about the commotion and police cars at the school. All the information she's gotten has been from Facebook or the internet, she said.
(May 5, 2:11 p.m.) Conyers Middle School was on lockdown after a gun was reported to have been fired inside the school.
According to the Rockdale Sheriff's Office facebook page, no injuries are reported from the single gunshot that was fired inside a restroom.
The middle-school student who allegedly fired the gunshot around 1:15 p.m. is in custody and the firearm was recovered.
According to Conyers Police spokesperson Kim Lucas, teams of police are still sweeping the school.
Dana Durule has a one child, Jay, enrolled at the Conyers Middle School, 400 Sigman Road, Conyers, and rushed over to the school when she heard about the shooting. She was with her younger child at CJ Hicks Elementary school when she heard.
She felt very scared and very alarmed at hearing the news, she told The News.
This is a developing story. Check back for more details.