By Mike Rush
East St. Louis (KSDK) - It was a potential tragedy thwarted. A school spokesperson says it could have been another Columbine, but instead, East St. Louis students are safe and two teens are accused of sneaking a loaded gun into school.
A student NewsChannel 5 talked to says she was shocked and scared by it. Antonia Wallace blames the school security, but a spokesperson says the incident showed some of the training is working.
Exactly how the student got the gun on the campus that has five metal detectors and nine security guards is still under investigation, but the head of the school district security thinks a student entered the campus after school had begun.
At that time, the metal detectors are not in use and not even plugged in. They're only used in the morning.
A 19-year-old and 16-year-old are under arrest, and are expected to be charged.
The East St. Louis police chief believes the 19-year-old brought the gun in and gave it to the 16-year-old.
Authorities say the younger teen put the gun in his book bag and went to class.
Thursday police were back using dogs to search the lockers for drugs. The chief says they were planning a surprise search anyway, and thought this would be a good time to do it.
A school system spokesperson stresses the two incidents are not related. No drugs were found.
It was other students who reported the gun to a teacher, who contacted staff and security.
"Something that could have turned into a Columbine did not happen," said Kimberly Roberson, a spokesperson for the school district. "We had a situation where everyone did what they were supposed to do. Everyone was safe."
But Wallace thinks security failed.
"If he brought a gun and they checked us like they're supposed to they would have got him at the front door and he would have never made it to the classroom," she said.
The head of school district security tells NewsChannel 5 the incident pointed out a number of procedural issues that need to be looked at, including the fact that the metal detectors are only used in the morning.