Old Mill High School and Old Mill Middle School in Anne Arundel County, Maryland, went into lockdown Monday afternoon after a student reported seeing another student with a possible gun, which turned out to be a BB gun.
“Shortly before dismissal, a student at Old Mill High School reported that he had seen another student earlier in the day with what he believed may have been a gun,” Bob Mosier, chief communications officer for Anne Arundel County Public Schools (AACPS), told WTOP.
Mosier said school administrators identified the student with the possible gun and went to the classroom where the student should have been. “When the student was not there, the school was placed on a lockdown,” he said.
The lockdown was extended to the two school buildings that comprise Old Mill Middle School as a precaution.
At around 3 p.m., administrators and Anne Arundel County Police found the student inside the high school. Shortly afterward, they found a BB gun, which was unloaded.
In a letter to parents, AACPS said it is working with police as they investigate the incident and that in addition to any action police might take, the school system could respond according to the Code of Student Conduct.
“We urge you to have a conversation with your student this evening [and] emphasize to them the need to report any unsafe incidents to a responsible adult immediately,” the letter said. “Safety concerns can also be reported anonymously to the Safe Schools Maryland Tip Line at 833-MD-B-SAFE. That line is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”
Mosier said that during any security lockdown, the best thing parents can do is stay on top of social media and school alerts — and away from the school.
“Our communications office was sending messages to families of students at all three of those schools … throughout the afternoon,” he said. “So I would say to families that we understand the anxiety that comes with something like this. We will communicate information to you as soon as we have it through channels that you are accustomed to, and that’s email and text and social media, so stay attuned to those channels.”
Those channels are critical, Mosier said, “because in a lockdown situation, nobody’s allowed in or out of the building, and so if you have parents streaming to the school to pick up their students, they can’t get their students. They’re going to end up sitting in a parking lot and we’re going to have a parking lot jammed full of cars and should we need to get emergency equipment in there, we would not be able to,” he said.
Mosier praised how students, staff and the police handled the situation, calling them “amazing.”
“Everybody stayed in their classroom like they were asked and that made for a much more orderly process.”
He said that all evening activities at Old Mill High School, including games and practices, were canceled because of the delayed dismissal time.
Schools will operate normally on Tuesday, and school counselors will be available to students.
The student/suspect was located inside Old Mill High School and a BB gun was found secreted a short distance from where the suspect was apprehended. The suspect is a juvenile, the investigation is on-going and there is no further information at this time.
— Anne Arundel Police (@AACOPD) October 18, 2021
WTOP’s Nardos Mesmer contributed to this report.