Reporting Rochelle Ritchie
PERRY HALL, Md. (WJZ) — Hard to believe it’s been almost one year since shots rang out inside a Baltimore County high school, critically injuring a student.
With the first day of classes just over two weeks away, school administrators are reassuring students and parents their schools are safe.
Rochelle Ritchie has more on the new safety measures.
Unfortunately, guns have found their way into schools across the country. And Baltimore County is no exception. That’s why they’ve spent millions of dollars to keep guns out–and kids safe.
On the first day of school last year, shots rang out at Perry Hall High School.
“First gun shot went off and no one knew what it was. And then we all turned around, and I just saw him standing there holding the shotgun,” a student said.
The gunman is 15-year-old Robert Gladden Jr. His victim is 17-year-old Daniel Borowy.
With school just a few weeks away, principal George Roberts says they are not taking any chances.
“We do have two school resource officers who have the capability if we need them to wand a student if we feel they have something on them,” Roberts said.
Baltimore County spent $3.7 million to install new security measures that will be in effect the first day of school.
Perry Hall High School, as well as other schools across the county, have a new buzzer system and mandatory check-in procedure in which visitors to the school have their IDs scanned.
“By the first day of school everything will be functioning,” said Dale Rauenzahn, security director.
While Baltimore County schools are more equipped with heightened security measures, school administrators say gun safety starts at home.
“Absolutely imperative those guns are secured and locked up,” said Rauenzahn.
The gun used by Gladden in the Perry Hall shooting was taken from his father’s and was not in a safe.
While gun locks and security systems are key, school administrators say paying attention to social media is crucial. On the first day of school, Gladden wrote: “First day of school, last day of my life.” He also admired the shooters in Columbine.
Roberts says the county has taken every precaution it can to protect students and be proactive.
“Every soul in this building is our responsibility. I think it’s heightened now for me,” he said.
Gladden is serving a 35-year prison sentence.
The first day of school in Baltimore County is Aug. 26.