LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18)– A Fayette County Public Spokesperson says that a contracted security ambassador at Frederick Douglass High School has been terminated after a student brought a loaded handgun into the school.
On Wednesday, school officials said that a student made it into the building with the gun despite being checked by a handheld metal detector. They say the student arrived at school after normal start time, entering just before 9 a.m.
The weapon was found around 1:30 p.m. inside the student’s backpack, officials say.
In a statement sent out Thursday, Fayette County Public Schools said that the security ambassador responsible for searching the student’s backpack did not adhere to the protocol in place and that the security ambassador has been fired.
You can read the statement below:
Maintaining safe and weapon free schools requires action on many fronts. The first line of defense is in the home and we rely on our families to ensure that their children do not have access to firearms and to routinely check their children’s book bags and backpacks for any items that are not needed to support learning.
The addition of metal detectors in middle and high schools is a second line of defense. Although we have repeatedly said that they are not fail safe, we do believe that they are a significant deterrent. Our next line of defense are the trusting relationships between students and staff in each of our schools and the culture of immediately reporting safety concerns.
We are proud of the administrators at Frederick Douglass High School for their handling of the incident yesterday, however, the breakdown that led to a gun being brought into the school is unacceptable.
As we stated yesterday, we are conducting an after-action review of the incident and we have determined that the student was able to bring the weapon on campus because the contracted security ambassador responsible for searching the student’s backpack did not adhere to the protocol in place. Although we are limited in what we can say because this is a personnel issue, that employee has been terminated.
Beginning this morning, we implemented heightened bag screening procedures and have reinforced the importance of thorough bag searches at all school entrances. We are looking at more efficient and effective screening procedures in order to continuously improve. While we are considering other options, it is premature to share those at this time.
We are confident the changes we have already made will enhance the safety and security of our schools. And we appreciate the support of our families, as evidenced by the fact that today’s student attendance at Frederick Douglass High School is in line with the school’s average daily attendance.
Metal detectors were implemented last spring at Frederick Douglass High School prior to the passage of the dedicated property tax for safety.
The addition of metal detectors in our other middle and high schools is just one of the initiatives funded in our Comprehensive 10-Point Safety Investment plan, which includes hiring more than 200 additional law enforcement officers, mental health professionals, and school nurses. We have a schedule for the rollout of each effort and present a progress report publicly at each month’s school board meetings.
Metal detectors were added at Paul Laurence Dunbar High School in October and will be implemented at Tates Creek High School this month. We will continue to work with our other high schools and plan to have the work completed across all high schools by the end of this academic year. Just this week, the board took action to increase the contract with the health department to hire a full-time nurse at every high school, reviewed a contract for social media monitoring services and began the state application process for construction of secure vestibules in 27 schools.
The district went through a bid process to select an external contractor to provide security ambassadors to assist with the implementation of metal detectors in our middle and high schools. Two firms have been awarded work at the same price – Greene’s Investigation LLC at Frederick Douglass and Paul Laurence Dunbar high schools and Helping Hand LLC at Tates Creek High School. The contract amount is based on an hourly rate of $20 per hour. A rough estimate per school would require 40 hours of service a day, 177 days a year for an annual cost of approximately $141,600.