Cave Spring Middle School gun incident becomes focus at school board meeting

Parents express frustration, offer solutions to board members

By Irisha Jones - Reporter

ROANOKE COUNTY, Va. - School security after the Florida shooting was supposed to be a focus of the Roanoke County School Board meeting Thursday night, but most of the conversation came from upset parents after police say a seventh-grader brought a loaded handgun to Cave Spring Middle School. 

Halfway through a briefing by the Roanoke County police chief on school safety and security procedures, the  Roanoke County Sheriff Eric Orange interrupted  with an comment directed at Superintendent Greg Killough

"You know we have school resource officer in our high and middle schools but not a single one in our elementary schools. I wanted to put deputies in elementary schools and I've meant nothing but resistance from this man right here," said Orange.

After the sheriff and members of his staff left the meeting, Superintendent Killough responded to the claims.

"There has been no resistance. You can ask chief Hall as he is standing here now. But there's never been any resistance from administration or anybody from the school board," said Killough. 

The public comment time was moved up on the agenda so people, mainly parents, could express their thoughts. A seventh-grade student brought a loaded gun to Cave Spring Middle School today and that dominated the comment period. 

"I personally do not feel comfortable sending my daughter back to school tomorrow. I'm sorry, I'm not," said Jennifer Emerson, parent. 

Some parents also offered solutions to the school board moving forward. 

"You arm the teachers. You allow a voluntary faculty to conceal weapons."

 Another one said at the podium, "I bet we can raise enough money in this room tonight to pay for a metal detector for Cave Spring Middle School so they never experience that again."     

School board members will review the presentation from the police chief.  In response to the school shootings, board member Don Butzer is calling for a special commission to evaluate existing school security procedures and determine what can be done to prevent a similar act in Roanoke County.

Roanoke County School started a safety task force after the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in 2012. 

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