I asked Joe Lavine, the Grady High School student who photographed the gun that may have been used in yesterday’s shooting at the APS school, to tell us how he happened upon it. The photo has appeared in the AJC and on TV.
There was a concern on the blog that a student photographer was “roaming” the Grady campus in the midst of a lockdown after a 17-year-old girl shot herself accidentally in the leg Wednesday morning in a school courtyard.
I had suggestedthat the student photographer may have been crossing the courtyard en route to class.
Joe Lavine is senior sports editor of the Grady High Southerner, which is a nationally acclaimed student publication.
Here is his response to how he got this photo:
I would love to clear some things up. Here’s what happened. I walked out into the courtyard, and the first person I saw was the girl, limping in obvious pain, toward the door that I had just exited. I assumed she had twisted her ankle… I asked if she was OK and she didn’t respond. She proceeded to rush through the door, and a custodian followed behind her to assist in escorting her to the nurse/ambulance.
The courtyard was occupied by only several groups of students who were all in gossip mode. From eavesdropping, I soon discovered that she had accidentally shot herself. I proceeded to walk toward my class, across the courtyard. Keep in mind, this is all within 10-15 minutes after the incident, before administrators even were aware, so obviously before the lockdown. Thank you for not jumping to conclusions; you were correct that it was during a class change.
I saw a crowd gathering on the edge of the pathway. They were all gazing down toward the gun, which was about 15 feet down a hill of monkey grass. Everyone was being cautious, remaining on the pathway; they had heard that the gun shot was an accident, so people were wary of the possibility that the gun was faulty. Then, I walked down and took the picture. The custodians were in the area and, from what I could tell, they began handling the situation (making sure students didn’t approach the gun, finding administrators).
I was impressed by this comment on your blog, which is almost entirely accurate: “The shooting happened in an outdoor area between buildings and kids were moving from place to place between classes. The photo was taken immediately after the shooting, before the lockdown as custodians were securing the area and notifying administrators.”
The only thing I would specify is that the photo was taken between five to 10 minutes after the shooting. I don’t think that quite constitutes “immediately.”
Though I understand it is important that I cleared this up, I think it is more important that we move on from my story and focus on the real issues at hand. Why did the student feel the need to bring a gun to school?
Is it possible to prevent these incidents without making the school a fortress? How can we use this incident to unify Grady students and cross racial boundaries?
What can we do to prevent teen gun/gang violence when that is all that many kids have grown up around?
–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog