Metal detectors for DeKalb district's youngest students - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Metal detectors for DeKalb district's youngest students

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McNair students return to class McNair students return to class
The scene outside of McNair Academy after gun scare The scene outside of McNair Academy after gun scare

On Friday morning, as an incredibly frightening and challenging week comes to a close, school leaders at McNair Discovery Learning Academy in DeKalb County received a huge "Well done!" from the federal government.

The accolades come after the faculty and staff more than rose to the occasion last Tuesday afternoon, when a "troubled" 20-year-old man walked into the school armed with an AK-47 and into the main administration office. He fired one round at the floor before being talked down by a school book-keeper.

Michael Brandon Hill surrendered peacefully to police; but, not before faculty and stuff quickly and safely evacuated the near-800 students from the schools classrooms. Children were sent scurrying – most walking, but some running – to a green, grassy field at the rear of the school.

Soon, all were accounted for and none had been hurt.

Interim Superintendent Michael Thurmond said Friday that metal detectors definitely will be installed on campuses for the district's youngest students. DeKalb's high schools and middle schools already have armed officers and metal detectors, Thurmond said.

Thurmond said the district is reviewing school safety policies that were revised most recently after a December 2012 school shooting in Connecticut left 20 children dead.

On Friday, the Obama administration congratulated the school's faculty, staff and students for how they responded to a terrifying situation. Via a video conference, U.S. Education Secretary Arnie Duncan addressed the school for about 30 minutes, honoring their collective bravery and celebrating there were no casualties.

Secretary Duncan expressed not only his thanks, but that of President Obama, as well. He spoke to some of faculty and staff as heroes; particularly, Antoinette Tuff, the book-keeper who is praised as almost single-handedly talking Hill down and keeping him from harming anyone.

Sec. Duncan also praised a cafeteria manager and media manager who were also in the main office when Hill, armed with an AK-47, walked in Tuesday afternoon.

A heart-warming occasion, Sec. Duncan even called the Pre-K through fifth-grade students his "little thoroughbreds." He said he could not be more proud of them.

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