Despite an incident Monday in which an unloaded gun was taken from a Lawrence High School sophomore, Principal Brad Tate said his students are safe.
"It's not something that happens very often at all," said Tate, who's been LHS principal since 1973.
On Monday, a student informed a school security guard that a 16-year-old boy had a gun. The boy was taken to the school office and interviewed by police, who discovered the unloaded .22-caliber handgun in his backpack.
About five weeks ago, a Kansas City, Mo., teen-ager was arrested after police discovered he was carrying a loaded gun outside LHS. The 18-year-old had been inside the school and had refused to leave. Once outside the building, police found a two-shot derringer in the pocket of his jacket.
The student who brought the gun to school on Monday was in his last day of school at LHS before entering a work program, Tate said.
"We are going to still go through the process of expulsion," he said.
That entails a hearing conducted by a three-person committee made up of district administrators who do not work at LHS. The committee makes a decision whether to invoke a one-year expulsion.
Tate said his staff is prepared to handle incidents involving guns on school property.
"I really think we're pretty safe here," he said. "We've never had a lot of the problems that you look around and see in the other communities around us. I think that has to do with a lot of the planning and a lot of hard work on the part of the people we give that primary responsibility to."
Tate invited anyone who is concerned about safety at the school to call the office and make arrangements for a visit.
"What I've told parents, in general, about violence or weapons is that I think the high school is the safest place around for students," Tate said.