BECKLEY, WV (WVNS) — A situation de-escalated at Woodrow Wilson high school. Now, both communities in and outside of the classroom look to learn from what happened on Wednesday, December 14, 2022.

The safety of students while in school is a top priority for faculty and staff. With increased instances of shootings, threats, and “swat calls” from would-be pranksters, conversations surrounding safety are more important than ever.

“It is a precursor for every conversation that we have, all of the things that we have to achieve from an academic standpoint from a curriculum standpoint if our students don’t feel safe if our students feel comfortable and if we don’t work on the relationships and break down those walls that make education possible than its all for naught,” said Ryan Stafford the principal of Woodrow Wilson high school.

Just before school let out on Dec. 14, a student directly notified Principal Stafford about a classmate who they believed had a gun in their bag. Stafford immediately jumped into action alongside the school resource officer John Wall, assigned by the Beckley Police Department. The two men found the class where the student was, brought them outside, and found the gun in their bag.

Stafford said student safety was the first thing on his mind, and they had to act fast. From the time he was notified to the time the gun came into their hands, Stafford said all of three or four minutes went by.

It was for this reason, coupled with the fact they did not want to bring their intentions to the attention of the student, Stafford did not put the school on full lockdown.

“In certain situations, our lockdown procedure is a very important element to our overall school safety, there are situations where a lockdown is absolutely necessary, in this instance, our priority was to remove the student from the rest of the students he was in class with,” said Stafford.

Moving forward, Stafford wanted to implement the quick and necessary precautions needed to catch a situation like this before it even makes it through the halls.

“What did we learn from this, what steps are we going to take to make our school safer, those are conversations that we have on a daily basis, and every faculty meeting that we have,” said Stafford.

Principal Stafford added they are in the very early stages of trying to implement security systems similar to what they use in the Fayette County school system.