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REALITY CHECK: Following gunfire at Murphy High, how are MCPS admins protecting children

(IMG:WPMI) REALITY CHECK: Following gunfire at Murphy High, how are MCPS admins protecting children

Gunfire at Murphy High School ignited fear in parents that is still gnawing at them. Thursday’s situation is just the latest incident keeping parents up at night.

On Wednesday, the campus was put on lockdown as police searched for a bad guy in the neighborhood. Additionally, earlier this school year, in October, a student was robbed of a gun on this same campus. Teachers found bullets in the breezeway.

NBC 15 spoke with family members who say they are afraid to take their kids to school because they don't think it's safe.


Beth Lyons' son Austin huddled in the corner of the lunchroom and called his mother when panic ensued at Murphy Thursday afternoon.

“There were some girls who ran into the cafeteria screaming ‘he's got a gun he's got a gun,’" Lyon said.

Lyon remembers the phone call that she feared could have been their last conversation.

“I went into the 'you have to be safe. You need to barricade the doors and get under the table,' and he listened to me and told me he loved me,” Lyon said, adding “I realized at that moment, I needed to stop being his safety patrol officer. What I need to do was reassure him and let him know it is okay.”

Austin and all of his classmates are physically okay, but emotionally it’s a different story.

“I feel like, for our kids and for our schools, we need to do better," Lyon said.

Superintendent Martha Peek doesn't think more security is the answer, even after five shots were fired on the campus.

Nicole Fierro: Do you think more needs to be done at Murphy?

Peek: No, I think Murphy is a secure campus.

Peek says there's a resource officer dedicated to protecting students at Murphy. The district randomly conducts metal detector screenings and K-9 sweeps of the school, and Peek says there are surveillance cameras all over the campus.


“It’s important for parents to know we have such extensive camera systems that are monitored the entire time," Peek said.

We asked how many cameras are keeping your kids safe, but Peek refused to tell us. She wouldn't show us the safety plan either, claiming the bad guys could use that information.

Peek says the secret plan worked to perfection Thursday, despite the hundreds of terrified students and parents.

“Yesterday was an example when everything worked like it was supposed to,” Peek said, adding “Everything worked except a student not knowing that he shouldn’t be on campus with a gun."

Among the many comments NBC 15 received after Thursday’s shooting was one from Joe on Facebook that stated:

How many gun incidents at Murphy do they have to have before the school board says they have a problem? What do they want? A body count?

NBC 15 learned that some board members do want metal detectors every day, but the administration looked into the option and says it’s not the best option.

“Checking it out, it's not the most efficient way to deter what happened yesterday, because you have so many entrances into buildings on campus that a metal detector at every entrance doesn't work,” Peek said, adding, “Also, if you've been on a campus when your taking students in in the morning, if you have several thousand students or even a thousand students backing up going into one entrance, it's not as effective as the other means that we have in place and that is that constant surveillance that's taking place.”

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