EDITORIALS/Neshoba Central's gun incident
Wednesday, April 24, 2013 1:00 AM
Neshoba Central and local law enforcement stopped a serious threat at the high school last Wednesday morning, and their quick action may have saved lives, but questions remain.
A 17-year-old who was not a student at NCHS was in custody after an altercation involving a principal, teacher and student and because he apparently, albeit briefly, brought a shotgun on campus the previous day.
The real concern is the shotgun. We must presume after the Newtown, Conn., school massacre that this child brought a shotgun to the school with the intent of inflicting bodily harm or death at the school - at least eventually.
Law enforcement ought to make an example and charge this juvenile as an adult and throw the book at him, but, most importantly, see that he gets the mental help he needs.
And not unlike the rest of the country, there also must be a heartfelt discussion in our community about our kids.
Talk to any parent of school-age children just about anywhere and there are concerns about either substance abuse, sex, bullying, an abundance of behavioral problems, including meds and their influence, all of the above or more.
Our schools can't be on lockdown like prisons 24/7, but sensible precautions can be taken and that will be up to the county School Board and parents.
And it would be a mistake not to involve students in the discussion about school safety as well. So many kids can feel isolated or neglected, which is more evident today than ever on social media, especially, and our schools need a system to deal with such concerns before they erupt into a full-blown shootout at a school.
Listening to students will help them.
How a non-student boarded a bus and ended up in the gym with other students is a mystery.
How a non-student so easily got a vehicle on campus with a shotgun is a surprise.
Educators face enormous challenges these days because discipline begins in the home and in so many there is none.
The county school district has three certified and armed officers on campus daily.
New surveillance cameras and other security measures were added in both the city and county school districts in wake of the Newton massacre in which 26 were killed by a man who broke down the front door and shot his way in.
All the school security in the world isn't going to stop a determined killer, which begs the question why certain teachers, administrators or school employees can't be armed.
Under state law, a 17-year-old can't be issued a gun permit, incidentally.
We remember all to well Luke Woodham's 1997 shooting rampage at Pearl High School.
It was assistant principal Joel Myrick who ran to his truck and retrieved a .45 pistol from the glove compartment and subdued Woodham inside his mother's car until law enforcement authorities could arrive.
Thankfully, no one was hurt at Neshoba Central last week, but any inclination to sweep this safety and mental health discussion under the rug would be a mistake.