Two Bronx teenagers were caught in their schoolyard handling a loaded gun Tuesday afternoon, police said.
The 16- and 17-year-old students were spotted by school safety agents passing the tan-colored gun back and forth just after noon outside Bronx Mott Hall school in Claremont, school safety sources said.
Each teen claimed the gun belonged to the other, and both were taken into custody, police said.
Education Department spokeswoman Jenna Lyle said “dangerous items of any kind are not tolerated in our schools. Our outstanding school staff and school safety agents immediately and safely recovered this item, ensuring that all students and staff are safe. All protocols were followed, and we are working closely with NYPD regarding followup actions.”
The number of weapons confiscated in city schools — including guns — has jumped this school year, reigniting a debate about the role of school police and metal detectors.
Much of the uptick in weapons seizures comes from items like tasers and pepper spray canisters, that students describe as protective devices that they bring to stay safe on their commutes to and from school.
The number of school safety agents has dropped significantly since the start of the pandemic through attrition and reduced hiring, falling from more than 5,000 in June 2020 to under 4,000 last November.
Mayor Adams and Schools Chancellor David Banks have said they hope to hire about 1,000 more school safety agents.
Adams has also promised to look into new technology to replace the traditional metal detectors currently used at some city high schools. Bathgate campus, where Bronx Mott Hall is located, does not have permanent scanners, according to school safety sources.
The mayor has said the new devices can detect weapons without imposing the burdens that traditional metal detectors place on students, but experts claim are still lingering questions about the efficacy of the new technology.