A Baltimore City elementary/middle school and all the schools in District 323 in Dunlap, Ill., near Peoria, were placed on lockdown on March 19 and 18, respectively, to keep students safe from handguns.
School officials in Dunlap said a 13-year-old Dunlap Valley Middle School student posted pictures of himself holding two handguns to his Instagram account right after he was seen arguing and “jousting” with other students.
He was arrested and held on unrelated charges early in the morning on March 19, the Peoria Journal-Star reports. But at least he was in custody, away from students who may have felt threatened.
The father of a classmate, who saw the picture on his daughter’s phone, alerted police. “He had the intelligence to call us and the school to report this,” the Journal-Star quoted Peoria County Sheriff Michael McCoy as saying to describe the father’s bravery. “A lot of people would have just made light or not wanted to get involved. This man did a very smart thing by letting us know.”
District 323 officials lifted the “soft lockdown” the following day, saying in an email, “At no time did we feel any students or staff were in any imminent danger. … We are confident that the threats related to this situation have been properly addressed. (The soft lockdown) was canceled after the teen was arrested.”
In Baltimore, police found a semiautomatic handgun inside Calverton Elementary/Middle School on Whitmore Avenue, and school officials briefly locked down the building to be safe, the Baltimore Sun reports.
One student was detained in connection with the finding of the handgun. “Providing safe, secure, and positive climates for teaching and learning is City Schools’ top priority,” school officials said in a statement.
Calverton serves 672 students in Baltimore City. It’s one of more than 70 public schools in the district that includes both elementary and middle school grades.