School Climate & Safety

Detroit Schools Boost Security Year After Shooting

By The Associated Press — July 01, 2010 2 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

The one day Emmanuel Gannaway left summer school early and took a different route home may have saved his life.

His mother, Marytina Gannaway, said her son usually caught the bus at the stop near Cody Ninth Grade Academy, where gunmen opened fire and wounded seven teenagers a year ago Wednesday. But he had only one class that day, and was home by the time his mother heard news of the shooting.

“I was crazy,” Marytina Gannaway said, referring to how she felt at the time. “I didn’t want him to go back to that school the next day.”

At the one-year anniversary, the case remains unsolved, with what police say are two shooters and a getaway driver still at large.

Since the incident, Detroit police have been working to mitigate the violence that has extended from the streets into school hallways. And while officials say in-school violence is decreasing, some students and parents say the safety changes haven’t been enough.

“I feel safe at school,” said Emmanuel Gannaway, who will be a senior at Cody High School. “But we do need more security.”

That need may be partially met this year.

The district plans to invest $41.7 million in upgraded security equipment, including new surveillance cameras and alarm systems at schools. Each high school will get 100 cameras placed in stairwells, hallways, parking lots, entrances and other parts of the school, the district said. K-8 schools will get 32 cameras each and elementary schools, 24 cameras.

Enhanced surveillance is a tactic to keep outsiders from entering the school to start trouble, said Detroit Public Schools Police Chief Roderick Grimes.

The alarm systems, he said, will send a signal to officers when a door is breached.

“That will give us somewhere to start the investigations on who got into our buildings unauthorized,” Grimes said.

The district also has increased the number of metal detectors at school entrances, and Detroit police boosted patrols in some school neighborhoods.

Improving school safety is an issue for districts across the nation. Chicago recently unveiled a plan to spend $25 million in federal funds on school safety programs.

Joseph Williams, a parent group leader at Henry Ford High School, said Detroit schools need armed police officers on street corners during arrival and dismissal times.

“We have to stand up and we have to do something,” Williams said. “I don’t feel like our children are safe at school.”

A group of Henry Ford parents filed a lawsuit this year against the school district for an Oct. 16, 2008, shooting that killed one teen and wounded three others. The suit claims school officials failed to prevent the attack near the school, which followed a fight inside the building earlier that day.

Detroit schools spokesman Steve Wasko declined to comment on the lawsuit.

Williams, 53, said districts are not solely accountable for school violence.

“Parents are the only (people) who can regulate their kids,” Williams said. “Our children have to become our top priority.”

Related Tags:

Copyright 2010 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Events

Classroom Technology Webinar Building Better Blended Learning in K-12 Schools
The pandemic and the increasing use of technology in K-12 education it prompted has added renewed energy to the blended learning movement as most students are now learning in school buildings (and will likely continue

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

School Climate & Safety Explainer: Why Was Michigan Suspect Charged With Terrorism?
He also was charged with first-degree murder, assault with intent to commit murder and gun crimes in Tuesday's attack at Oxford High School.
3 min read
Parents walk away with their kids from the Meijer's parking lot in Oxford where many students gathered following an active shooter situation at Oxford High School, Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2021, in Oxford, Mich. Police took a suspected shooter into custody and there were multiple victims, the Oakland County Sheriff's office said.
Parents walk away with their kids from the Meijer's parking lot in Oxford where many students gathered following an active shooter situation at Oxford High School, Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2021, in Oxford, Mich. Police took a suspected shooter into custody and there were multiple victims, the Oakland County Sheriff's office said.
Eric Seals/Detroit Free Press via AP
School Climate & Safety What This Week's Mass Shooting Can Teach Us About School Safety
The incident in Michigan, the deadliest school shooting in three years, will add to a wrenching school safety debate.
7 min read
A well wisher kneels to pray at a memorial on the sign of Oxford High School in Oxford, Mich., Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2021. A 15-year-old sophomore opened fire at the school, killing several students and wounding multiple other people, including a teacher.
A mourner kneels at a memorial in Oxford, Mich., site of the deadliest school shooting since 2018.
Paul Sancya/AP
School Climate & Safety Mich. Student Kills 4 in Deadliest School Shooting Since 2018
A 15-year-old boy has been charged with murder, terrorism, and other crimes for a shooting that killed four students and injured others.
3 min read
Dozens of police, fire, and EMS personnel work on the scene of a shooting at Oxford High School, Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2021, In Oxford Township, Mich.
Dozens of police, fire, and EMS personnel work on the scene of a shooting at Oxford High School, Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2021, In Oxford Township, Mich.
Todd McInturf/The Detroit News/AP
School Climate & Safety Violence, Hate Crimes in Schools Surged in Pre-COVID Period, Federal Watchdog Finds
Data from several years preceding the pandemic sketched a troubling trajectory, the Government Accountability Office found.
7 min read
Hands of people point to a boy insinuating bullying.
iStock/Getty Images Plus