Principal says system works after student found with loaded gun

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March 23, 2007

AUGUSTA, Ga.---A freshman at Butler High School was arrested this week, accused of bringing a loaded gun to school.

17-year-old Melquan Robinson was arrested Wednesday at the school.

News 12 visited Butler High today to see exactly what steps are being taken to prevent this kind of thing.

This isn't the first time a student was found with a weapon at Butler High School, but it was the first time the weapon was fully loaded.

We asked principal Dr. Walter Reeves if he feels safe as an educator at the school.

"Oh yeah," he said. "Not a problem, not a problem."

That's the same response he says he's given to his faculty, students, and their parents.

"I think the thing that reassures me, even though that's a dangerous situation that we don't want to happen, but it shows that the system that we have in place works."

The system that worked wasn't a metal detector, though. In this case, it was a student who made an anonymous tip to a teacher. Around lunchtime, a public safety officer at the school found the loaded weapon in Robinson's pocket.

"To my knowledge it's the first loaded weapon," Dr. Reeves said. "We've found other types of weapons in the past. It's an infrequent thing, but, you know, you got 1100 kids. It happens."

But how is it happening with security measures in place like metal detectors, security cameras and a public safety officer?

For one thing, Dr. Reeves says all students are not required to walk through a metal detector every time they enter one of the more than 20 school entrances.

"With a large campus, it works better for us to do random metal detector searches. If you got a set up, stationary metal detector, the kid knows where it is and he's not necessarily going to walk through it."

Dr. Reeves says there are no planned changes to the safety procedures at the school. He hopes his students learned a lesson from the student whose tip helped stop what could have been an even more dangerous situation

"I guess we hope by educating our kids and building those relationships, maybe we can turn some things around."

Melquan Robinson is still at the Richmond County Jail. He faces felony counts of possession of a firearm on school property. His bond is set at close to $7000.

Dr. Reeves says the school's next step will be to hold a tribunal hearing. That's where Robinson's punishment will be decided. He could face expulsion for the crime.

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