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Student Search at Long Reach Uncovers 2 Knives: Police

The search came after Long Reach High School was on alert due to threats.

Long Reach High School in Columbia
Long Reach High School in Columbia
Long Reach High School was on alert recently due to threats of a fight.

Students planned a "physical fight off campus" after school Friday, Long Reach Principal David Burton told the Howard County Times, which reported that social media spiraled the threats into rumors of a potential shooting at the school.

In response, the Howard County Police Department increased patrols at Long Reach during dismissal time, according to Mary Phelan, spokeswoman for the police department.

Long Reach has had increased police presence on campus before. In 2012, a man in a ski mask came on campus and tried to fight a student, who knocked him out. Afterward, the Columbia man was sentenced to 60 days in jail. According to the state's attorney's office, the 41-year-old man had been defending his sister, who had french fries thrown at her in the Long Reach cafeteria two days earlier. Afterward, officers were stationed at the school and village center as a precaution.

On Friday, officials searched several students involved in the rumors that there would be a fight and sent them home, according to the Howard County Times

"Unrelated to the initial dispute, but due to the heightened awareness of school and staff, a teacher alerted the administration that one student may have been in possession of a weapon," Phelan told Patch. "That was investigated and found to be false. However, further investigation revealed in the student’s vehicle there were two folding knives."

The school was handling disciplinary action, and charges may be filed, Phelan said.

Coincidentally, the searches occurred as the Howard County Public School System revises its search and seizure policy. A hearing on the issue is slated for April 10.

The policy on search and seizure was reviewed by a committee of administrators and security personnel as well as by the Howard County Board of Education. 

Some of the proposed changes: teachers will receive training if they are to be searching students; the school system will have the authority to search electronic devices; students can be searched at bus stops and parks; and drug dog searches will be possible at all school levels, not just high school.

Read the complete policy proposal here.

People can submit their feedback by email to boe@hcpss.org; by letter to the Board of Education Office, 10910 Clarksville Pike, Ellicott City; or at the public hearing at 7:30 p.m. on April 10 at the Board of Education Office. To sign up to testify at the hearing, contact the board’s office at 410-313-7194.
PH April 15, 2014 at 12:53 PM
All well and good. BUT. If a student is off campus, I question that. I've never felt that any school should have jurisdiction over any student OFF CAMPUS. Not even a bus stop, much less a park. Until that student boards the bus, buzz off.

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