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The Student Newspaper of Jackson-Reed High School

The Beacon

The Student Newspaper of Jackson-Reed High School

The Beacon

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Visitor’s handgun confiscated at security

Eli Schwartz
SAFETY FIRST – A sign in front of JR reminds the community that DC prohibits bringing guns into public schools. This policy was implemented to ensure student safety.

Questions concerning communication throughout the building have come to light after an expected visitor attempted to bring a handgun into the building on Monday, January 8. The visitor who brought the gun was set to perform at a Gogo event in the auditorium, and once the gun was brought to the security guard’s attention, it was immediately confiscated and no one was harmed. 

Aaron Besser, social studies teacher and event organizer, explained that he has worked with Long Live Gogo (the organizers of the event) before and that they have always been a great educational tool for students. Although Besser was a leader of this event, he was not notified of the occurrence during the assembly, and said that there was “no context for me and the organizers didn’t say anything.” 

While Besser understands that “for an issue of security, as the teacher, [I have] no power or control over the situation,” he adds that “it would have been nice to understand why the assembly started late. I’m always a fan of more communication and transparency.”

Additionally, other staff and faculty were not notified of the incident during the school day, and found out about the situation at 9 p.m. through an email from Principal Sah Brown. 

According to Brandon Hall, Director of Strategy and Logistics, “the situation was handled appropriately by security personnel. There was no need for any emergency status to be initiated.” 

“The person never ended up inside, I don’t feel like it needed to interrupt my day,” math teacher Leland Casey said. He adds that he would have “probably liked to know it at the end of the day, maybe 3:30. 9 p.m. is a little later than I would have expected.”

Elana Horowitz, math teacher at JR, agrees that being notified during the day “would have caused panic.” However, “it also raises questions of are there other things that we aren’t being notified that are happening in the building.”

Parents were alerted of the incident through an email from Principal Brown a few hours before staff, but students were never notified. “Communicating home about incidents that arise during the school day is critical to maintaining strong partnerships with families,” stated Brown in the email to parents.

Avani Patel, a freshman at JR, said that she found out because her mom told her. “I feel like they should have told us. They only told our parents, but not us.” Senior Ben Martin explained that, “I don’t really know the details.” 

With the portables and many classrooms in the main building having broken Public Announcement (PA) systems, some students are wary of future events similar to this. “I just don’t have any way to communicate with the school, and the school can’t communicate with us if there’s emergencies,” said junior Maddie Nusbaum.

Faulty PA systems have continued to remain a pressing issue that limits contact between administration and classrooms, and these problems have persisted even after shots were fired outside JR last school year on November 18, 2022.

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About the Contributors
Edith Corrigan Conaty
Edith Corrigan Conaty, Spread Editor
Eli Schwartz, Assistant Director of Art and Design
  • 2022-23: Senior Photo Editor
  • 2023-24: Assistant Director of Art and Design
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