Trendy “Look-Alike Guns” Dangerous
Dr. Christopher Manno, Superintendent of Schools
In 2006, a police officer killed an eighth-grader at Milwee Middle School near Orlando, Florida because the student pointed a gun at him in the school. The SWAT team member thought he was being threatened with a 9 mm Baretta, which was actually a pellet gun. According to school security experts, incidents like this one are on the rise across the country with the proliferation of more authentic-looking and trendy look-alike guns (Maintaining Safe Schools, 2006). “Look-alike guns have become more popular with adolescents who like the feeling of power it gives them,” said John Weiker, Director of Security at Fort Wayne Community Schools in Indiana. Weiker believes that, “Kids think, ‘I’m bad, I’m a gangbanger, I’m like the guy I saw on TV last night” (2006, p. 7).
Parents should be aware that replica guns, pellet guns, BB guns or the like are not harmless and have no place in the schools or the community. Students have been killed as a result of playing with or possessing these products. Police can easily mistake a toy gun for a real one. Look-alike weapons can seriously disrupt schools by terrifying classmates and staff, prompting false alarms that result in evacuations and/or lockdowns of schools, disrupt the instructional day, and prompt rumors, fear, and confusion in the community. Additionally, pellet and BB guns have caused serious injury to children and adults.
Parents and students should be aware and understand that look-alike weapons of any type are strictly prohibited on our schools. Possession of such products in school will result in severe disciplinary consequences. Everyone’s cooperation is needed to keep our schools safe and secure places for children to learn and grow.
Practical Strategies for Maintaining Safe Schools – Incorporating School Security Report. November 2006. Volume 12, Issue 11, LRP Publications, Horsham, PA.
The Burlington Township School District will develop the intellectual, creative, and social potential of each child through an active partnership with all members of the community.