Gun incident at Oklahoma City school sparks metal detector inspections

Metal detectors across the Oklahoma City School District are being inspected in the wake of a student's arrest Monday at U.S. Grant High School in an incident involving a gun in the building.

"It's a situation where there is a positive outcome to a negative situation," district spokes-woman Tierney Cook said.

Cook said earlier this week that all middle and high schools except for Belle Isle Enterprise Middle School have metal detectors, but she said Wednesday that not all are in working order.

The single metal detector at the Classen School of Advanced Studies has not been in use "for quite some time," Cook said when asked specifically about the site.

She did not say what other schools' detectors may not be in working order and didn't know how long the repair to Classen's will take.

However, she said students there must enter through one set of doors where their bags are inspected. That policy has been in place long before Monday's incident that put the district on high alert, she said.

Students talk about situation

U.S. Grant High School will operate in lockdown mode for the third consecutive day today and will stay locked down until further notice, Cook said.

Students at U.S. Grant said after school Wednesday that security measures are more stringent since Hodauri Latifu McCoy Jr., 14, was arrested on a felony complaint of carrying a firearm in a school.

According to a police report, he pointed a loaded gun at another student and threatened others.

"We weren't really surprised," junior Edgar Estrada, 17, said as he left the campus Wednesday.

"It's just kind of something the kids feel like they have to get used to," said parent Rebecca Owens, who has a son in the ninth grade at the school.

Owens said she didn't want her son to go to school after the incident and hopes the school does its job of keeping students safe.

Seniors Edgar Silva and Armando Sigala, both 17, said security is tighter under the lockdown.

The crackdown also led to the cancellation of school spirit events this week, including a pep rally, they said.

A language teacher who asked not to be identified said students are nervous.

She said some students in her classes were making jokes about the situation as a way to deal with it, while others expressed worry.

Josh Taliaferro, 16, a junior, is among them.

To him, the most noticeable change is a stepped-up police presence.

"Some of the students didn't think it was a big deal," he said before he got into his grandfather's car after school. "But anything could happen. I don't want this to be the next Columbine."

Absences rise

The number of students who missed class was up Wednesday at U.S. Grant compared with the day before.

During Wednesday's first-period classes, 394 students were either absent or tardy - 46 more than at the same time the day before, district spokeswoman Tierney Cook said.

On Tuesday, the number absent or tardy fell from 348 during first period to 231 during seventh period. Wednesday's figures from the end of the day were not made available.

There are about 1,600 students at the school.