Parents, leaders raise concerns on safety after unloaded gun found at P.S. 158

News 12 went to the school on Wednesday to speak with parents and met Charlena Luallen, a parent who still hadn't heard about the incident.

Katelynn Ulrich

Mar 21, 2024, 12:45 AM

Updated 33 days ago


It's been almost two weeks since a student brought an unloaded gun to P.S. 158 in East New York. Parents exclusively spoke to News 12 to call for the Department of Education to improve how they notify parents.
News 12 went to the school on Wednesday to speak with parents and met Charlena Luallen, a parent who still hadn't heard about the incident.
"That was like two or three weeks ago? That's the day the police were there. Oh wow! Were they going to notify parents?" asked Luallen.
A letter was sent home with students the day following the incident. The day it happened; the school posted the same letter to the education app Class Dojo.
The letter mentions a weapon was found, NYPD was called, and that "every precaution was taken."
"None of us knew that the gun was empty. So, I'm just all nervous like my child could have been dead," said P.S. 158 Parent Kayla McNeil.
Luallen said her young son was repeating a phrase that she didn't know where it came from until learning of the weapon on campus.
"He kept saying at the day care, he kept saying something about a gun and they kept coming to me and I was like, ‘Where are you getting this from?’ He must have got it from school," said Luallen.
Council member Christopher Banks visited school staff on Wednesday and spoke with DOE representatives.
News 12 asked if there is a standard school safety notification protocol or policy. Banks referred News 12 to the DOE but a spokesperson didn't answer that question directly.
Jenna Lyle, a spokesperson with the department, provided wrote in a statement:
"There is no greater priority than the safety of our young people. In an emergency situation, our top priority is the wellbeing of all students, and our schools work to get information out to families as quickly as possible. We know that in this day and age, families expect to receive information in real time, which is why we are working to provide updates to families via text and phone calls, in addition to letters, as quickly as possible.”
DOE sources noted that every year each school develops a school safety plan.
They add that in the event a weapon may be in a student's possession, the school may go into a "hold" or a lockdown. The staff works closely with school safety agents and the local precinct. The emergency responses, like lockdowns, are practiced multiple times a year.
News 12 was also provided with a document explaining city schools' emergency readiness initiatives.
Banks will be hosting a town hall with the community and school officials this Monday. His staff say it will be near the school and likely around 6 p.m.

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