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Student arrested after loaded gun found at Palm Beach Gardens Community High School

Third incident involving gun on campus this school year
Palm Beach Gardens Community High School
Posted at 2:36 PM, Mar 16, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-17 05:54:29-04

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. — A student was arrested Thursday after bringing a loaded gun to Palm Beach Gardens Community High School, the School District of Palm Beach County said.

School police confiscated the loaded gun, which "was discovered during a search of an unrelated incident reported by a staff member," according to a letter from the principal notifying parents.

The letter said the gun hadn't been used in a threatening manner.

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"I would like to recognize our students and in this case our staff, for continuing to follow through with safety protocol," the letter said. "Because of their awareness in recognizing that something did not fit, safety protocols were immediately followed and everyone was safe."

State law prohibits guns on school property.

This is the third incident involving a gun at the school this academic year. Similar circumstances led to the arrest of a student there last month.

Barbara McQuinn, a school board member whose area includes Palm Beach Gardens Community High School, released the following statement to WPTV:

"It's very disturbing that another weapon has been brought onto a school campus. The positive news is that our school employees are doing exactly the right things when a weapon is suspected. This is yet another case where no one was endangered; rather school staff discovered the weapon. However, we must do more. Our students and staff need to not only be safe but must also feel safe. An additional layer of security we're taking is metal detectors. Hopefully that will be a deterrent to future incidents."

The student who brought the gun to campus was arrested and will face expulsion.

One student said she sometimes doesn't even know about these incidents until friends start talking about it.

"I feel pretty safe just because they've only just found the gun and nothing has happened," student Shania Charles said. "But it's scary knowing there was a gun in the school and knowing something could happen."

Palm Beach Gardens Community High School is one of several being talked about for a pilot program for metal detectors in the School District of Palm Beach County.

"I just feel like we should take more initiative to stop the problem because it's happened so much," Charles said. "But we are getting metal detectors, which I think will help more because then we'll know. Because you can just walk into school with anything. So I think it would be better with the metal detectors."

The other schools being considered for the metal detector program are John I. Leonard High School, Seminole Ridge Community High School, and Palm Beach Lakes Community High School.

Palm Beach County School Board member Edwin Ferguson said he thinks the metal detectors will be in place by the end of the school year.

"The superintendent, the district, the chief of police, we're all here for the parents, for the children. We all hear you. We've heard you and we will continue to hear you," Ferguson said.

Depending on the success of this pilot program, the school district said metal detectors could be implemented across the county next year.