Baltimore County schools will have additional police after a second incident involving a gun at a county school in just over two weeks.
County Executive Kevin Kamenetz said effective immediately, all Baltimore County public schools will receive an increased police presence. School resource officers will also be equipped with handheld metal detector scanners.
The decision on whether schools need permanent metal detectors will be made after a "comprehensive analysis" by the school system, Kamenetz said.
"We have to be proactive in our response to these incidents and we will," Kamenetz said.
The announcement Tuesday afternoon came hours after a teacher disarmed a student who was later arrested for allegedly bringing a gun into Stemmers Run Middle School in Essex.
A 13-year-old eighth grade Essex boy brought a .25 caliber semi-automatic handgun and threatened his teacher and classmates, said police Chief Jim Johnson.
Toward the end of his first period class, around 9:50 a.m., the boy allegedly pointed the weapon at his teacher, then his classmates and then himself, said Johnson.
"The weapon is small enough to fit in the palm of your hand," Johnson said.
The teacher grappled with the student, disarmed him and radioed a school resource officer for assistance as other students fled. The officer took the boy into custody, Johnson said.
"[This was] another case where a Baltimore County educator acted heroically," Johnson said.
The police chief added that the gun was loaded with one round and the student, who rode the bus to school, also had a six to seven inch hunting knife.
Stemmers Run Middle School was on lock down while police conducted a limited search. Investigators are now looking to determine how the student came to possess the weapons.
Because the boy was charged as a juvenile, Johnson said "we're greatly restricted in the information that we can release."
Despite the incident, Stemmers Run Middle School remained open for the remainder of Tuesday's classes.
Superintendent S. Dallas Dance said "instruction did not need to be impacted for the day." He added that the school system crisis team is attending to the affected class and teacher.
Parents of students in the class were notified about the incident through personal phone calls from staff. The school community at large was notified through a letter and the school system emergency alert service, Dance said.
"We've gotten word from several parents—they appreciate the communication," Dance said.
At the scene, Stemmers Run Middle School parent Debbie Jones criticized school officials for withholding information until an afternoon press conference.
"We're the parents, and you're asking us to leave our children here? Telling us to wait until a press conference. Why does the press need to know before us parents who are here? I think this was a horrible way of handling this," Jones said Tuesday morning.
She was one of several parents who took their children out of school early on Tuesday.
Many parents on the scene drew parallels to the recent student shooting at Perry Hall High School on Aug. 27. The two schools are located about nine miles apart, both in the Baltimore County school system.
"I'm scared. It was just a few weeks ago that this happened at Perry Hall, and now this," Jones added.
Senior Local Editor Emily Kimball contributed to this report.