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'Our system worked': Fayette officials say security prevented loaded firearm from making it into Dunbar High School

Josh James

Law enforcement officials say a 17-year-old Dunbar High School student is in custody after a loaded firearm was found in the student’s backpack.

The gun was discovered by security during routine backpack checks Friday morning as students were entering through metal detectors. Once the gun was found, Fayette County Public Schools police immediately took possession of the weapon and placed the student in custody.

While no students or staff were hurt and the gun was apprehended without incident, Superintendent Demetrus Liggins acknowledged the anxiety parents and students feel hearing such news. He said they can take some comfort knowing that security measures were effective.

"Today we're pleased to say that our system worked... that the protocols we have in place prevented anything worse from happening."
Fayette Superintendent Dr. Demetrus Liggins

Fayette County Schools Police Chief Martin Schafer said the student’s identity is not being made public at this time, but authorities say they’ve uncovered no evidence of any plans to use the weapon.

"There were no indicators or any evidence discovered that there was an intent... that the firearm was to be used on this campus or any other campus in Fayette County," he reported.

The student is being charged with three Class D felony offenses, including unlawful possession of a weapon on school property, along with one misdemeanor and disciplinary action by the district.

The incident marks the fourth time this academic year a firearm has been located on a Fayette County public school campus.

The incident occurred less than 24 hours after a district advisory council reconvened to begin assessing where schools stand with regard to safety five years after the adoption of a comprehensive 10-point safety plan – one that included the adoption of metal detectors in high schools.

Josh James fell in love with college radio at Western Kentucky University's student station, New Rock 92 (now Revolution 91.7). After working as a DJ and program director, he knew he wanted to come home to Lexington and try his hand in public radio.