- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 8, 2002

School districts in Maryland, the District and Virginia were restricting activities and increasing police presence yesterday after a 13-year-old boy was shot outside Benjamin Tasker Middle School in Bowie.
Authorities in Prince George's County say all schools will be open today, but will be under lockdown no outside or after-school activities will be conducted and there will be an increased police presence.
Montgomery County schools will open on time this morning under a Code Blue: Children will be kept inside during recess and gym, field trips and open lunch are canceled, and afternoon kindergarten and prekindergarten will not be held.
The school system plans to have police officers and cadets present when children go to school, and County Executive Douglas M. Duncan called on parents to take over safety patrols and serve as volunteers in schools.
Yesterday, on a day when Montgomery County schools were supposed to have operated on a normal schedule and allowed outdoor activities to be held after last week's deadly sniper shootings, districts around the region went into lockdown canceling field trips, recess and outdoor activities, and prohibiting entry to the school until the end of the day.
Police officers were deployed at schools in Montgomery County, the District and in Alexandria, while Fairfax County police stepped up patrols around schools.
In the District, additional school security guards were also deployed at every school, said spokesman Barrington Salmon. All outdoor activities and field trips were canceled indefinitely, he said.
Parents came in droves to Benjamin Lasker Middle School to pick up their children.
"What is the mind-set of a person out there doing these acts?" asked Pearl Dosnmu, who was on her way to pick up her 12-year-old son, Tyron Dosnmu, at 11 a.m. "What can you do except pray?"
Troy Miles, 13, of Collington Station, said students did not know what was happening outside until an hour after the lockdown.
"The teachers called roll," he said. "They never do that." He said students were confused when their teacher did not give the class their daily warm-up exercises.
His mother, Stefanie Miles, was on her way to work when she heard reports about the shooting on the radio.
"All I heard first was 'Student shot at Bowie middle school,'" she said. "We just started praying. He's in one piece, and I thank God for that."
Louise Gibbs of Bowie said she left her job at a post office to pick up her eighth-grade son, Chris, as soon as she heard news reports.
"We were all wondering, 'What's this all about?'" she said. "I'm anxious to see my son."
Other area school officials said they were encouraging parents to allow them to remain at school because the atmosphere inside was safe and secure.
Any parents who did want to pick up their children would need proper identification, school officials said.
"We have not received many parent calls. We are affirming that children are safe at school and the safest thing is to let them remain here" during the school day, said Kate Harrison, a spokeswoman for Montgomery County public schools.
The school system had returned to normal status yesterday morning after last week's shootings in the county, but Superintendent Jerry Weast announced a return to the emergency/crisis status of Code Blue after the shooting in Prince George's County.
In a letter to parents, Mr. Weast said a "sense of vigilance and flexibility" was needed following last week's events. "Events may require continued change in school operations and I ask that everyone be patient and understanding," he wrote.
State police have been posted at 28 county schools in the area of Thursday's shootings. All extra doors at schools are locked and there is school staff posted at the front doors, Ms. Harrison said.
Extra doors at schools were also locked in Anne Arundel County, which canceled all after-school activities as well as afternoon kindergarten. Evening high school was canceled and all after-school child care would be provided in schools, school officials said.
Schools in Virginia also responded to the shooting.
In Arlington, children's physical education and all other outside activities were restricted, spokeswoman Adrienne Bailey said. All outdoor after-school activities were canceled, although indoor after-school activities were held as scheduled.
Students at T.C. Williams High School in Alexandria, who are usually allowed to go off campus for their lunch break, were being asked to stay in, spokeswoman Barbara Hunter said. The school also canceled field trips and outdoor activities.


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