Weapon confiscated at DeKalb County high school, officials say

Credit: Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com

Credit: Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com

A student at Martin Luther King, Jr. High School in Lithonia faces disciplinary and criminal consequences after bringing a weapon to the campus on Tuesday, school officials said.

School administrators learned about the weapon and it was “quickly confiscated and secured by administrators and the School Resource Officer,” according to a letter to parents from Principal Michael Alexander. It did not state what type of weapon was found or how administrators learned of it.

“I applaud the appropriate response from our staff and campus security to address the incident promptly,” Alexander said in the letter.

The incident occurred one day after the DeKalb County Board of Education agreed to lease a weapons detection system for $8 million over four years. The school district is on track to confiscate more weapons this school year than in any of the previous five years, interim Superintendent Vasanne Tinsley reported to the board Monday afternoon.

The system is designed to detect weapons without people having to stop, empty their bags or wait in lines. The company told district officials it could have the technology in the district’s middle and high schools in as little as three weeks.

In addition to the weapons detection system, the district will be giving all employees crisis alert badges by next school year, which will allow them to immediately notify administrators or first responders in the event of an emergency. The district also uses K-9 units to detect weapons and drugs on campuses and is adding more mental health supports for students.

Alexander said the incident at the school should be used as an example of the importance of the district’s “See Something, Say Something” campaign, which encourages students to tell an adult any time they suspect an unsafe situation at school.