Adjustments Watson Chapel is doing to reassure staff and students after shooting

Local News

PINE BLUFF, ARK. — The Watson Chapel School District is making adjustments following a school shooting that left one student seriously injured.

Police said the suspect is a 15-year-old student at Watson Chapel Jr. High. He is in custody tonight, the Jefferson County Prosecuting attorney said there is a probable cause hearing for him Wednesday.

Meanwhile a lot of students, parents and teachers are still trying to process what happened Monday.

FOX 16 spoke with the district superintendent about what changes — if any — they will make security-wise moving forward to prevent something like this from happening again.

“We’re doing the best we can with this and move forward and I think that’s what we are going to do,”  Watson Chapel School District Superintendent Dr. Jerry Guess said. 

Security is top of mind Tuesday at Watson chapel junior high in Pine Bluff, after a 15-year-old boy was shot and injured at the school Monday morning.

“There are sheriff deputies and pine bluff police officers on-site at the high school and junior high both,” Guess said. “The police department has moved a mobile command station out to our campus so they can be present if they are needed.”

Guess said students are learning virtually Tuesday and Wednesday and will return to in-person Thursday.

FOX 16 asked Guess if he had a message for students who may be nervous about coming back to school in person. 

“Well I think we are all very concerned about this. The Junior High staff is very, they’re very shaken up,” Guess said.

FOX 16 also asked about the potential for metal detectors — which the school does not currently have.

“I don’t know if we can get metal detectors as quickly as that, if that’s what we decide to do,” Guess said.

QUESTION: On social media a lot of parents are complaining that they didn’t get a phone call about what happened at the school — What do you have to say about that?

“Well we sent out multiple messages that there had been an incident, it was contained and students were safe,” Guess said. “But unfortunately a lot of people do not keep current address information and current phone information.”

Guess said the safety of students and staff are a priority, however, he said it’s impossible to block the efforts of a dedicated assailant. 

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