By LINDA M. LINONIS
Discovery of a bullet in a toilet in a boys’ second-floor restroom at Girard High School prompted a Friday morning lockdown for about 80 minutes.
About 9 a.m., a student reported the bullet to a teacher, who advised school administration. High school principal William Ryser notified police.
Following a safe school plan, a lockdown was initiated at the school at 1244 Shannon Road. Police responded and determined the bullet was a Remington .25 caliber and was taken as evidence. Police and school officials conducted a search of school property but no weapon was found.
Police Chief Jeff Palmer and Superintendent Joseph Jeswald were at the school; Detective Greg Manente and Capt. Chris O’Brien continue to investigate.
Jeswald said the school prepares for such an occurrence. “Lockdown and evacuation drills are practiced,” he said.
He explained that in a lockdown, teachers lock the doors to their classrooms and remain with students. “No one is allowed in the halls,” Jeswald said, except for police and administrators.
Jeswald said the discovery of such contraband, like the bullet, drugs or an intruder in the building would be among reasons for a lockdown.
“Safety of students and staff is what’s important,” he said, emphasizing that drills for such incidents educate everyone about their roles and lessen the chance of panic.
Jeswald said this was not the first time a bullet was found. He remembered a few years ago, a bullet was discovered at the old high school building.
“Police take the lead in this investigation and administration assists,” Jeswald said. He added he was “pleased” with the quick response of staff implementing the school safety plan and police responding.
The 2010-11 academic year is the first in the new high school building. There are about 520 students in ninth through 12th grades and 250 students in seventh and eighth grades. The doors to the school are locked and access is gained through the main doors, where visitors are buzzed into the administration offices. That office controls access to the school interior.