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LHS Student Faces Criminal Charges For Gun at School

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LAWTON Okla_ It's been nearly two weeks since a 17-year-old Lawton High School student was arrested for bringing a gun to school, and now he is awaiting criminal charges.

The teen was arrested after a substitute teacher at Lawton High School noticed some suspicious behavior around the student's locker and reported it. Because of that alert teacher's information, LPS investigators were able to confiscate an unloaded gun from the teen's locker.

LPS Public Information Officer Keith Mitchell said school officials had the gun and student in their custody within minutes of the teacher's report. Mitchell said since the student was not in direct possession of the gun, the campus was not locked down. Mitchell also explained that parents were not immediately notified by text or phone call of what was happening, since no one was in imminent danger.

Parents later received letters describing what had taken place. Mitchell said any weapon on a school's campus can not and will not ever be tolerated. The safety of their students is a school's top priority.

"It doesn't matter what security provision you put into play," Mitchell said. "The next time something happens in the world, that now you have to rethink it, and that's what we do in these situations."

Mitchell said staying ahead of the game and preventing potential danger is key, and that's what happened when a teacher took notice of something unusual.

"A substitute teacher noticed what he thought was suspicious behavior around the locker and when he went to check on it, the students dispersed and it raised his suspicion," Mitchell said.

Mitchell said that teacher did the right thing and reported it immediately. Then, school officials went to investigate.

"They have the authority to check the locker," Mitchell said. "So, they did a locker search. They were really thinking they might find drugs in the search, but when they looked in the book bag, they found an unloaded hand gun."

The student was immediately pulled from class and arrested.

"The only real explanation we have at this point was that he didn't bring it to school with the intent of harming anyone at school, but we don't know what his intent was after school," Mitchell said.

Mitchell said regardless of his intentions, LPS practices zero tolerance for these types of instances.

"Because of the potential, this is not like, ‘We understand. Don't let it happen again,'" Mitchell said. "If you do it, the consequences are immediate, and there's no tolerance."

While most schools have some sort of security measures in place, it often takes a team effort to enforce them.

"I think that's one of the important things in this entire situation," Mitchell said. "School security can only go so far, and it takes a concerted effort with your teachers, your substitute teachers, administrators, students, and parents. As we've seen here in Lawton and communities across America, those resources provide a valuable service in stopping incidents of violence."

Mitchell said in addition to facing criminal charges, regardless of their outcome, the student will be suspended for the remainder of this year and the entirety of next year.

You may remember just last week, Marlow Public Schools faced a similar situation when a gun was found in a student's pickup in the school's parking lot. That student, 18, was arrested and jailed. He has since been released on bond.

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