Despite a shooting at Suitland High School on Jan. 13 that left one student wounded and caused a lockdown, supporters of the school say it is safe, secure and continuing to operate as one of the top schools in the county.
Their response comes after several students and parents voiced their concerns after a student at the school was shot at a nearby apartment complex.
“We are not going to allow a couple of bad apples to spoil the reputation of our school,” said one student who didn’t want to be identified. “Something like this can happen anywhere.”
A dispute between two students that started with a fight led to the wounded student retreating to the building where authorities were called and the building was locked down for about an hour. One of the students fired multiple shots in an apartment building parking lot adjacent to the school, according to police reports.
The student, a teen boy, was taken by ambulance to a nearby hospital. His injuries were not life threatening. A group of students dragged him back to the school from the scene of the shooting, according to police reports.
The students were outside an apartment complex behind the school when another student produced a gun and shot the student, according Prince George’s County Police Lt. David Coleman. The student is expected to make a full recovery. The second student was arrested later that day.
Jennifer Donelan, a spokeswoman for Prince George’s County police, said multiple shots were fired. She said gunshots broke the window to the school building that housed music and art classes. A bullet lodged in the building’s ceiling, she said. Principal Nate Newton said the school was placed on lockdown as a precaution. Parents were notified of the shooting in a letter sent home with students. Classes were also cancelled for the remainder of the day.
Suitland High School is a public magnet high school located at 5200 Silver Hill Road in Forestville, Md. The school has long been regarded for its Visual and Performing Arts magnet program. Suitland hosts one of the most specialized programs of instruction in the county, which includes the Center for Visual and Performing Arts magnet program, an International Baccalaureate magnet program, the Technical Academy signature program, the America’s Choice School Design signature program, and the Academy of Finance.
“We must work together to put an end to the increasing incidents of gun violence in Prince George’s County,” said civic leader Aisha Braveboy. “Too many of our young people have access to weapons and they choose to end disputes with violence. This reckless disregard for life impacts our families, our communities and our schools. My heart goes out to the families involved and the Suitland High School family. It is a blessing that the student who was shot did not sustain life-threatening injuries.”