4 gun-related incidents at AZ high schools prompt call for metal detectors

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As the country tries to make sense of the tragic and deadly school shooting in Florida this week, Arizona high schools have had several gun-related incidents over the past two days.

[READ MORE: FBI says it didn't act on tip about Parkland shooter]

  • FRIDAY, Parker, AZ

The most recent happened in Parker, Arizona in La Paz County.

On Friday, the Parker Police Department investigated a student who was reportedly making threats to buy an AR-15 rifle. During the course of the investigation, the student admitted having a shotgun in his truck. Police say the weapon was not loaded and was locked inside the vehicle.

The student was arrested and booked into La Paz County Jail for misconduct involving weapons and possessing a deadly weapon on school grounds.

  • FRIDAY, Sierra Linda High School

Another gun-related incident happened at Sierra Linda High School in Phoenix, in the Tolleson Union High School District.

According to Phoenix police Sgt. Alan Pfohl, there were rumors on social media that someone with a gun would show up at the school Friday. Investigators found the rumor to be false and did their best to calm student and staff fears. 

  • THURSDAY, Sierra Linda High School

On Thursday of this week, two students brought loaded guns to school in separate incidents. 

Phoenix police arrested a 16-year-old student for having a stolen loaded gun on Sierra Linda High School’s campus. Police didn’t notify media about it until Friday morning.

[READ MORE: PD: Phoenix high school student arrested after bringing loaded gun to campus].

District officials praised the student that saw something and said something. 

 "Absolutely, the student did the right thing and that’s what all students should do," said Joseph Ortiz, a spokesman with the Tolleson Union High School District.

  • THURSDAY, Chaparral High School

Also on Thursday, Scottsdale police arrested an 18-year-old Chaparral High School student who claimed he was in a rush and forgot he had a gun in the car with him when he parked on campus.

Police confirmed today that gun was loaded. He legally owns the gun, but it’s illegal for him to have it on school grounds.

[RELATED: Student at a Scottsdale high school arrested for having gun in his car]

That incident, along with the Florida shooting, motivated Chaparral High School dad David Kaplan to stand outside the campus today with signs to call on all public schools to have metal detectors. 

"I just want to protect our children and our teachers," says Kaplan."I think it’s a great deterrent. They can make sure people don’t bring in guns into school onto campus."

But not all parents and grandparents think it’s a good idea.

"It’s just a little bit too much," says one grandmother, Cecelia Gonzales. "You’re putting kids through a lot of things now that I don’t think is necessary." 

The Scottsdale Unified School District’s chief security officer James Dorer wrote in an e-mailed statement that “metal detectors aren’t as effective as people may think” and that they are “cost prohibitive.” He clarified that it’s not the technology, but the multiple employees needed to operate it at multiple schools.

A spokesperson for the district added school security is always being evaluated and if the district were to consider purchasing metal detectors, “extensive research” would have to be done first and then a final decision from the school board would be needed to move forward. 

Police from both Phoenix and Scottsdale assured no threats were made or directed to any students or teachers in the two loaded gun incidents. 

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