JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The News4JAX I-TEAM reviewed data obtained through public records requests about the number of guns found in schools year to year and the arrests. During the 2019-2020 school year 10 firearm incidents were reported resulting in 4 arrests.
Some students had the guns in their backpacks, other weapons were found in students’ cars or in their lockers. News4JAX crime and safety expert said local school systems aren’t doing enough to protect their students.
It’s an issue the I-TEAM has been digging into for more than a decade.
Englewood High School was placed on lockdown in September after administrators received tips that a student was carrying a gun on campus. District officials said thanks to tips from students, staff and security teams it was able to safely confiscate the firearm and the student was taken into custody.
There were four students arrested in the 10 Duval County incidents involving guns on campuses in 2019-2020. Following the incident, the school started screening all its students with metal detectors. That’s something News4JAX crime and safety expert Ken Jefferson said should be standard practice in the current climate.
″I think we are beyond the point where all schools should have metal detectors. We live in a society now that, these kids don’t care, they don’t care about living, they don’t care about dying, they don’t care about killing you, so why not take the necessary proactive precautions? So what it costs money, it costs money to recoup from a mass shooting as well,” Jefferson said.
- So far in the 2021-22 school year, the district reports 3 firearm related incidents and 3 arrests
- In 2019-20, 10 firearm incidents were reported resulting in 4 arrests
- In 2017 and 2018, Duval school officials said they confiscated 10 guns and made 8 arrests
- In the 2016-17 school year, 13 guns were confiscated resulting in 17 arrests
- In 2015-16, 10 guns were found and 7 students were arrested
When more arrests are made compared to the number of guns found it typically means, anyone who handled the weapon faced a criminal charge. Jefferson however suspects the number of actual guns in school is higher than what’s been reported, saying many gun-carrying teenagers don’t get caught.
“The scanners are not up all the time, they are checking the backpacks on a regular basis but not a daily basis. They do it sporadically,” he said.
In most cases of guns in schools, it was another student who reported the incident to a administrator. It’s also important for students to realize that even if you handle a gun in school and give it back to another person, you can face criminal charges as well.