MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A 16-year-old student has been charged after a gun was found on White Station High School’s campus Thursday morning.
Memphis Police responded to a report of a student being armed. Students reportedly tipped administrators off about the gun. Police said officers made the scene and detained the student.
According to police, officers found the gun at the school, but it was “not in the hands of the juvenile” at the time.
MPD said the 16-year-old was charged with carrying a weapon with intent on school property, possession of a handgun by juvenile, unlawful possession of a weapon, and theft of property $1,000 to $2,500 to wit: handgun and transferred to juvenile court.
Memphis-Shelby County Schools said White Station High was placed on a “precautionary lockdown” while security and police investigate. The lockdown was lifted at around 1 p.m.
“A search of the school has been conducted and the District is notifying families about the lockdown. MSCS Security and school administration followed District protocols and procedures as we continue to prioritize the safety of students,” MSCS said in a statement. “We appreciate the swift action of our security team that quickly addressed the matter.”
In a video statement on Twitter, MSCS Chief of Communications Jerica Philips said there are no reports of threats made against students or staff. Police said no one was injured, and there were no reports of shots being fired.
Philips also said the student reportedly brought the gun to and from school for protection and applauded students for alerting faculty.
“This really speaks to the culture of trust between children and adults,” Philips said.
Memphis-Shelby County Schools is not saying how the student was able to get the gun on campus. According to MSCS, White Station High conducts “daily random walk-through and wand metal detection” and is looking to invest millions into new safety and security technology.
MSCS said families were notified through text and robocalls. While parents like Erin Edge-Stroud are grateful there were no shots fired or any injuries, the ordeal has left her shaken, given days ago a gunman killed 21 people at a South Texas school.
“There are parents in Texas suffering worse than we are under circumstances similar to this and something just got to be done. There needs to be change in legislation, there needs to be a waiting period. We need to stand up take care of our kids and protect them,” Edge-Stroud said.
April Lemons, another MSCS parent, said under no circumstance should a child bring a weapon to school.
“It some changes that need to be put in place for these kids so they can feel safe,” Lemons said. “Speak to an adult, speak to an older brother, seek for help. That’s what they need to do.”
This is not the first time a gun made its way on a MSCS campus. Last September, a 13-year-old boy was shot by another student at Cummings K-8 school.
As for students and parents at White Station High School, they are just thankful that it was not worse.
“You hold them tight. You hold them a little bit tighter and I’m just feeling so fortunate that everything worked out today,” Edge-Stroud said.
Dr. Michelle Taylor, the Director of the Shelby County Health Department, released a statement Friday following the incident, expressing how the incident hit home for her and other parents in Shelby County.
The senseless shooting deaths of 19 elementary students and two teachers in Uvalde, Texas this week, and the racially motivated killing of 11 people in Buffalo, NY, the week prior, again brings to the forefront the need for a multidisciplinary public health approach to address gun violence in our society. The lockdown and arrest of a student yesterday at White Station High School for alleged possession of a gun brought the issue close to home for me and other parents in Shelby County.
The key to preventing violent incidents like these and numerous other deadly occurrences due to guns, is to heal generational trauma, while also addressing the structural and institutional failures that often lead to gun violence in our country and community. The Shelby County Health Department works daily to address the community health issues that arise from the trauma of diminished opportunities and inadequate policies to protect the Shelby County community.
Shelby County Health Department is committed to working to counteract the adverse experiences that lead to gun violence in our community by providing a wide range of prevention and screening services, expanding our reach by convening mental health resources, and enhancing our analysis of gun violence as a public health crisis in our community to ensure that the entire community has the tools to fight and win the battle against gun violence.Dr. Michelle Taylor, Director of the Shelby County Health Department.
MSCS is urging people to send tips by texting “SCS” to 274637.