On Monday, August 15, a student at Lincoln High School was able to bring a firearm onto campus, despite security measures in place at the Stockton school: campus security guards, detection dog searches, a shack on guard to check on visitors and a closed-campus policy, according to Chris Bowman, director of public safety for the Lincoln Unified School District.
The 17-year-old pulled the loaded gun from his belt as he was pushed to the ground by campus officers trying to break up a student dispute, according to Stockton Police Chief Stanley McFadden.
Another fight had broken out between several students at lunch, and two students were slightly injured, police said. The 17-year-old was arrested and charged with charges of weapons, assault, resisting arrest and making criminal threats.
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Bowman said he couldn’t say specifically how the student brought the gun to campus because police are still investigating the incident. But there is no system in place to physically screen every student who enters the school.
“It’s a very open campus. It’s very big and we have thirty-three hundred kids,” he said. “It would be very difficult to put metal detectors anywhere to channel students, just because of the open layout. We don’t have the capacity to do that at the moment.”
Although there are no metal detectors, detection dogs — most of which can alert gunpowder dog handlers — periodically search Lincoln’s parking lot and classrooms, Lincoln said. Bowman. It would not specify the frequency of searches for security reasons.
At the time of the incident, three officers from the Lincoln Unified School District, a school resource officer from the Stockton Police Department and Bowman were on the Lincoln campus, he said. Bowman had not received any information about the presence of a gun on campus, he said.
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Officers were nearby when the first conflict erupted in the middle of campus, and when the second conflict involving the student with the gun occurred, Bowman said. The student was disarmed by Bowman, a Lincoln Unified officer and a school resource officer from the Stockton Police Department.
Lincoln Unified officers receive training at the police academy and learn unarmed defense training and takeovers, Bowman said.
The goal is for students to feel comfortable telling an officer if they don’t feel safe at school, he said. The purpose of the agents on campus “is not to be a negative presence and to be that hammer. They try to build a relationship with all the students”.
But he said he didn’t know how to ensure no firearms were brought onto campus in the future. “I don’t know. I think we’re just trying to do our best.”
Record journalist Aaron Leathley covers business, housing and land use. She can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @LeathleyAaron. Support local news, subscribe to The Stockton Record at https://www.recordnet.com/subscribenow.