BECKLEY, WV (WVNS) — Parents are speaking out after a student with a gun was arrested at a local high school.
Woodrow Wilson High School parents got the call on Wednesday, December 14, 2022, from Raleigh County Schools Superintendent David Price. The recording said a student had brought a handgun onto school grounds.
Joneece Pendley’s two daughters attend Woodrow Wilson High.
With a rash of mass shootings across the country, she and other parents have had to talk to their kids about what to do if there is a shooting on campus.
“I always prepare, or try to prepare, LaMya and Malia for the worst,” said Pendley. ” If something like that was to happen, if they can get away, get away and don’t look back. If you can’t get away, you know, sad to say, but lay there and play dead.”
Police say a student brought the gun to school in a backpack on Wednesday. Another student reported the firearm to the school professional resource officer, who confiscated the handgun.
Beckley Police Department Lt. Jason McDaniel said on Thursday, December 15, 2022, that there is no reason to believe the student planned to harm anyone. But the bottom line, for Pendley and other parents, is the terrifying reality that a gun was inside the school when their children were present.
“I was very concerned,” said Abby Honaker, whose son attends the school. “And I think all of us, as parents of students who attend that school, or attend any school, public school system or private school system, want to know: How did this happen? What are you doing to make these changes and what steps are you putting into place to make sure that this doesn’t happen, again?”
Raleigh County School officials met Thursday to learn more about how the gun got into the school.
Parents say the entire community, from parents to elected officials and school administrators, have a responsibility to make sure another gun doesn’t make it on campus.
Next time, they said, there may be fatal consequences.
“Maybe metal detectors as the kids walk in, maybe clear backpacks, maybe no backpacks,” Pendley suggested. “They’re so used to being on Chromebooks and iPads. Let’s put everything on iPads and Chromebooks. That way you don’t have to carry anything.”