A week after a Lucketts man was arrested for carrying a loaded handgun into Tuscarora High School, parents were still asking school leaders how it happened and whether their students should feel safe.
According to Leesburg Police, officers responded to the North King Street school shortly after 2:30 p.m. March 19 for a report of a man inside the building who was carrying a holstered gun. Police made contact with the suspect, Mi-Allah Justice Grant, 18, who said that he was a recent Tuscarora High School and military boot camp graduate intending to speak with students about joining the military. Grant was arrested and charged with possessing a firearm at a school, a Class 6 felony.
As of Tuesday, he remained held without bond at the Loudoun County Adult Detention Center. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for April 22 in District Court.
Several parents appeared at Tuesday’s School Board meeting to object to the lack of information about the incident, which they said was a pattern following last year’s assault of a student by football players in a locker room—an incident that parents weren’t told about until four days later.
Parents said they had been told that Grant walked around the school for two hours and even posed for photos with students before police were called.
Brooke Josties criticized the “complete breakdown” of communication between the school system and parents. “None of us had any information—even a week later,” she said. “We do not have a partnership. Students and parents are left completely in the dark.”
Leesburg resident Jeff Mitchell said the handling of this incident was just the latest in a series of failures for Tuscarora’s administration. He said administrators even put blame on the students during schoolwide announcements.
“The trust is gone and it is your duty to restore it,” he said, calling it a wake-up call for the school system. “Our children are not safe in school.”
Ryan Benton said he has still not been told of any changes to policies or procedures to ensure the school would be safe. He claimed that one parent just days earlier was granted access through the school’s locked doors by displaying an “ice cream card” when asked to show a driver’s license.
“There were a lot of warning signs, and we’ve had a lot of warning signs at Tuscarora High School,” said Greg Hudson.
Just hours before Tuesday’s meeting, the school did announce plans to add a security officer on campus during the afternoons.
During Tuesday night’s meeting, School Board member Tom Marshall (Leesburg) also asked to be briefed on the situation, saying he knew nothing more than what parents had been told.