CHAMPAIGN -- Parents are concerned for their children's safety after learning a student at their school brought ammunition. Last week, Booker T. Washington Elementary School began tightening security. Now, it has even more reason. WCIA-3's Gary Brode explains.
The kids were out at recess when teachers found a loaded gun clip on one student. There was no gun, but it was alarming.
"It crosses my mind that it could turn into something more significant."
It wasn't a cellphone, baseball cards or rocks in one student's pockets, but rather a clip full of 9 mm bullets.
"Has it ever happened? Sure, but it's pretty rare. Kids are young. Kids are curious."
Once police were called, they searched the student's home.
"We found additional ammunition and drug paraphernalia. There was no gun in the home."
Police aren't sure just yet who the ammunition belongs to. If it does belong to the parents, they could face child endangerment charges. Children's Services is conducting an investigation of its own. The child is still living in the home.
"You can't control what goes on in other people's homes. You can only hope and pray the kids get enough attention as they need at this age."
Friday's incident is just one more problem for Booker T. Washington Elementary.
"We picked this school for its education ad programs. But, it is a little concerning about some of the apartments going in here and the police cars we see around here."
Andy Adams has a child in kindergarten and another one coming to Booker T. next year. He thinks the administrators and school are great, but with crime happening around the school, a change may be needed for his family.
"It raises some concern. At this point, I don't think it's on our radar screen to leave, but if problems arise and continue, it will e something that we think about."
The school sent home a letter to parents Monday. Booker T.'s principal assures them the school is a safe environment. The investigation is ongoing.
CHAMPAIGN -- Police say an 8-year old student brought ammunition to school. A loaded magazine fell out of the coat pocket of a Booker T. Washington student Friday. The school notified police.
The department got a warrant for the student's home. During the search, they found ammunition and drug paraphernalia. Monday, the school sent out letters to parents to let them know what happened.
CHAMPAIGN -- Safety is the focus as the neighborhood around one school changes. The school district is tightening security at Booker T. Washington Elementary.
"I've seen a lot of police cars around here, but I've never really thought about it," says says Matthew Wisenewski, grandparent of a student.
The school board says several incidents have happened around the school recently and a lot of it started this past year. After sitting down with community leaders, they now have a plan in place.
Matthew Wisenewski says he doesn't worry about his granddaughter while she's inside Booker T. Washington. It's getting there that's a concern.
"I bring her to school every day. I mean, I walk her to the classroom and I come and pick her up and walk her to the car," says Wisenewski.
Lately that concern has been valid. Within the last month, police searched for a suspect around the school during school hours. The district says that incident and a number of calls to this apartment complex jump-started a conversation about safety.
"We saw three police cars in the back the other day and I was like, 'What the heck is going on over there?'" says Wisenewski.
Both Champaign and Urbana police chiefs, the Housing Authority, the district and the apartment complex owners met this week. School Board President Laurie Bonnett says they're putting a steel fence around the property, will have a full time manager and armed security 24/7. The district and police departments have also figured out plans for what to do if a crime happens nearby.
"I really think they should have a resource officer over here just to make it a little safer. Especially with the crime rate," says Wisenewski.
The school board says there aren't any plans for a resource officer at the elementary schools. However, the district is adding lighting and cameras to keep more eyes watching Booker T. around the clock.
Bonnett says the apartment complex is Section 8 housing and the owners will be cracking down on residents to be sure they're following the rules.
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