Teachers accuse Harper Woods School District of covering up gun-related incident

Posted at 11:51 PM, Jun 06, 2023
and last updated 2023-06-07 10:56:09-04

HARPER WOODS, Mich. (WXYZ) — Teachers from the Harper Woods School District stood in solidarity Tuesday night demanding answers about the handling of an incident at the high school on May 31.

Police say a student brought a gun to school. However, teachers and parents are upset that district Superintendent Steven McGhee didn't place the school on lockdown and no notification went out.

“We are asking this board for a full investigation led by an outside firm to ensure everything has been and will be done in the future to prevent any risks to our children,” Amy Conrad, a member of the Harper Woods Education Association said.

Beth Pellegrinn’s son has friends in the district. She spoke during the school board meeting Tuesday night.

"My son's friends are here at Harper Woods and I want to make sure that their kids, all the kids are safe," Pellegrinn said.

On Monday, police put out a statement stating a school employee found a handgun and the student was later arrested. The statement came five days after the incident.

Also on Monday, McGhee sent a letter to parents. He claimed police found the handgun. The teachers union claims McGhee tried to cover it up.

"We have to wait on a police report before we start spreading the rumors," one board member said.

7 Action News got a hold of the police report. According to investigators, the high school’s dean of students discovered the gun and some marijuana after searching a student’s backpack. The police report also states the student snatched the gun away from the dean of students and ran away, leaving campus.

Police later arrested the boy and recovered the weapon.

7 Action News called the superintendent Tuesday afternoon before the board meeting. However, he declined to comment. Instead, McGhee referred us to his public relations person. When asked why he wouldn’t answer questions himself, he told us he didn’t want his words to be misconstrued.

We gave him another chance to speak after the meeting. He said he had no comment but went on to say they will “complete the thorough investigation.”

“We are going to make the appropriate changes that are necessary,” McGhee said.

He went on to talk about successes in the district before walking away.

Concerns remain about how the student got the gun into the school. According to the police report, a staff member believes the student did not walk in the front entrance through metal detectors.

A board member called out the security team and is asking for disciplinary action.