Gun at White Station sparks anxiety among parents, students

Published: May. 26, 2022 at 10:57 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - A parent’s worst nightmare: Families with students at White Station High received a phone call from the district on Thursday, May 26, that sent them racing to the East Memphis school.

A report of a gun on campus triggered a lockdown. Memphis-Shelby County Schools called it a “soft lockdown,” with students and staff remaining in place while officers looked for the weapon.

But parents received text messages from their scared kids before MSCS provided any information. In that window of time, and on the heels of the Texas school shooting, very real panic and anxiety set in for many in the White Station family.

“It was just go on lockdown, it’s not a drill,” 9th grader Keris Randle told Action News 5.

She described the fear inside the school as the lockdown was ordered while she sat in art class.

”Everybody started yelling,” said Randle, “So we went into the storage room and we were just hiding. And our teacher said if they do come in here, throw everything. Just throw!”

Anxious moms and dads rushed to school. Many, including Sharron Tuggle, receiving text messages from their frightened children.

“I left the doctor’s office and everything. I dropped everything and I hauled a** down Poplar,” she said.

While students barricaded in classrooms stared out the windows, worried parents received a voice message from MSCS.

”White Station High School is on lockdown while law enforcement is on site,” the message said.

Memphis Police told Action News 5 they received a report that a student brought a gun to school. They searched the school property, found the weapon and detained the student.

“He actually felt the need, and this is from reports, to bring a weapon to protect himself on his way home from school,” MSCS Chief of Communications Jerica Philips told Action News 5.

MSCS said daily, random metal detector checks are done at White Station High. Parents said they want more screenings and more campus cops.

“I think that all schools should have metal detectors,” WSHS father Chester Tuggle said, “I think all schools should have security at each door.”

”We want them there as quickly as possible,” said Keris Randle’s dad, Kevin, “We want them there in the school each day so that if something like this happens, they’re here quickly and able to take care of everything.”

With the school flag already flying at half-staff to honor the latest mass shooting that happened just 48 hours earlier, it was an uneasy day for Keris and the rest of the Spartan family.

“I prayed that this was not another Texas shooting. I just prayed that it would be brought under control and that we’d all be safe. And we are,” she said.

Memphis Police said the 16-year-old student was arrested and taken to juvenile court. He’s now charged with Carrying a Weapon with intent on School Property, Possession of a Handgun by a Juvenile, Unlawful Possession of a Weapon, and Theft of Property.

MSCS said a fellow student tipped off school administrators about the gun. If your child sees something, they’re encouraged to say something. They can text a tip to “274637″ and use the code “SCS.”

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