COLUMBUS, Ohio (WSYX) — The new Superintendent of Columbus City Schools will take on a position with a laundry list of concerns. Right now, one of the biggest issues in the district is safety.
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During the 2022-2023 school year, the district reported in February, 17 guns were recovered on middle and high school campuses.
It’s a dangerous trend that has an entire community taking notice.
"Anytime you find a firearm in a school safety zone that's alarming," said Officer Jim Morrow, head of the Columbus Police Gun Crime Unit.
One of the most shocking incidents of the year happened at Champion Middle School when an 11-year-old boy brought a gun to school.
Cases like this have parents raising serious questions.
“It never happened when I was in school but it’s almost like commonplace for these kids, and where are you getting the guns from?” asked CCS parent Jeff Pitts.
Morrow has answers.
"Sometimes they get them at home, they find them in the household, but often time they find them in the streets, and they're purchasing them from their friends and associates," he said.
In December, there were already 8 cases of kids caught with guns, prompting ABC6 On Your Side Investigator Lisa Rantala to sit down with Board Of Education President Jennifer Adair to talk one-on-one.
Rantala asked, "How safe are Columbus City Schools?”
Adair responded (in part) by saying “You need to define what that means to you. I believe our schools are safe. "
However, during that same interview, Adair admitted that she had pulled her own daughter out of Columbus City Schools and placed her in a different system.
Still, board members and district leaders insist the schools are safe.
Over the course of the year, there were several major security changes. Dozens of high-tech scanners and detectors have been installed at all of the city high school entrances.
There are 6,000 cameras in place and monitored from a security hub every school day and unarmed security officers patrol buildings and campuses.
Despite the upgrades, there are students who are falling through the cracks in the safety system.
This month, a student was caught on video using a knife during a fight at Mifflin High School. CCS responded by saying it would begin searching bags and belongings by hand.
Several parents spoke out, concerned about the students' rights, and discrimination based on race, and worried that kids would be subjected to random stop-and-frisk pat-downs.
“This is our city, these are our schools, these are our children. They deserve dignity, deserve humanity, they deserve everything that every human being deserves,” CCS parent Kaleem Musa said.
The district said stop-and-frisk searches will not take place.