Wright parents worried about knives at school

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They’ve received 2 letters this week after 3 incidents

By Todd Martin

Parents of students at Wright Elementary continue to be alarmed over two letters sent home in three days about three incidents involving knives being found on school property.

Shelby County Public Schools Superintendent James Neihof said the district received several calls from parents with concerns, and he is ensuring parents that "additional precautions are and will continue to be taken to make sure students remain safe."

Several others have also called The Sentinel-Newssaying they are worried for their children's safety, however all have called anonymously.

Amanda Brown, a parent of a student at Wright wrote on the newspaper’s Facebook page that she thinks the district should have metal detectors at each school.

"It's really scary. My kid goes there, and so do my friends’ kids, and I am starting to get really concerned," she wrote. "If only all the schools had metal detectors, I would feel more at ease. “
Two letters were sent home to students this week, one from Principal Lynn Gottbrath and one from Neihof. The letters explained the situations, and that the district is working with the staff at Wright to help students understand that it is not acceptable to bring knives to school.

Knives were found either in possession of students or on school grounds on three different occasions over the last seven days.

All three knives were described as "folding knives," Neihof said and none were more than three inches in length.

The first instance was last Wednesday, and, although some students did see the knife, it was collected by staff.

"As we understand it, the knife was never opened," he said. "These knives do not fit the description of deadly weapons [which carry a penalty of 1-year expulsion], but we do treat knives very seriously."

The second knife was found Monday on the playground next to a trash can, and was described "as weathered and rusted, appearing to have been outside for a while."

It was found by a student and taken directly to a teacher to be disposed of.

The third knife was found Wednesday during a morning check, and Neihof said it was not seen by any other children.

District discipline is being followed, the superintendent said, and that carries a range of one to five days suspension.

Letters sent home Wednesday ask parents to talk to children about what is and is not proper to take to school.

"We realize this is the hunting season and some families enjoy this outdoor activity," the letter from Neihof states. "However, please stress the fact that no knives can be brought to school. Take the time to review these expectations so children know why knives are appropriate and so children will know serious consequences follow when rules are broken."