An Atlantic County freeholder will introduce a resolution Tuesday supporting metal detectors in all Atlantic City schools.

"Gun violence in Atlantic City and recent community meetings resulted in a call from many residents and community leaders urging that the Atlantic City School Board install metal detectors in the Atlantic City Public Schools to help protect our most precious gives, our children," Freeholder Ernest Coursey wrote in the resolution.

He plans to present it to the Atlantic County Board of Chosen Freeholders at today's 4 p.m. meeting, then head to Atlantic City's Board of Education meeting set for 6 p.m.

The school board originally was set to meet last week, but did not have quorum, due to illnesses.

Coursey said he knows the metal detectors won't solve all of the city's violence problems, but they are a good place to start.

Currently, only the high school and Viking Academy — the city’s alternative high school — have metal detectors.

But concerns grew after Angel Mercado-Santiago was gunned down Jan. 8, just moments after dismissal from the Pennsylvania Avenue School. A 15-year-old was wounded. The 14-year-old charged was a high school student.

A Jan. 20 meeting held to discuss how to stem the violence resulted in residents nearly unanimous in the their backing of metal detectors for all of the schools.

Councilman Mo Delgado pointed out at the time, the violence is happening outside the schools. There have been no incidents of guns being brought into the schools.

Coursey pointed to an incident earlier this month, in which a 15-year-old Viking Academy student was arrested after he allegedly stashed a gun behind a nearby market before heading to class. While he avoided the metal detectors, a witness alerted the school, and police were called.

That the student knew there were metal detectors is likely what kept him from bringing the gun inside, Coursey said.

Contact Lynda Cohen:


@LyndaCohen on Twitter

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Senior copy editor for the Press of Atlantic City. Have worked as a reporter, copy editor and news editor with the paper since 1985. A graduate of the University of Delaware.

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