Quincy Public Schools starting process to implement bookbag searches at elementary schools

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QUINCY — Quincy Public Schools officials will begin this week educating students in the city’s five elementary schools about what future bookbag searches and screenings will look like.

This decision, announced Monday by Superintendent Todd Pettit, was made in reaction to Friday’s incident involving a Baldwin Elementary School student who had an unloaded airsoft gun on a school bus.

“To ensure the safety of all students and staff, we will begin the process to implement increased security measures at our elementary schools this week,” Pettit said in a press release. “These screenings will be similar to what our junior and senior high students are accustomed to. We understand this may seem scary to your elementary children, which is why we will take time to educate them in the process, just as we would for any school procedure or safety drill.”

Pettit said Friday’s incident was resolved quickly and safely because students reported the airsoft gun to school personnel. District administrators contacted police. The student, who made no threats, was removed from the bus and will face disciplinary action.

Airsoft guns are realistic-looking replica/toy guns that imitate real firearms and shoot small round plastic BBs using air pressure.

“I understand that this may seem overwhelming, perhaps viewed as an extreme measure to some,” Pettit said. “But in the world we reside in, no community is immune to senseless acts of violence. We believe this is a necessary step for the safety of our school families.”

Pettit said an email will be sent Tuesday to the parents of elementary school students that includes specific discussion starters. A paper copy of that email also will be sent home with each student. School principals also will be providing more school-specific information to each family this week.

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