Records show Metro Schools principal, administrator gave faulty information to parents about gun in school

WSMV4 Investigates has learned that information given to school parents about a gun found inside a Metro middle school was incorrect.
Published: Aug. 11, 2022 at 7:05 PM CDT
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) -Parents at Oliver Middle School were told by their principal and the district executive director of middle schools that when a loaded gun was discovered in April on campus, the school was immediately locked down.

Records obtained by WSMV4 Investigates show that information was wrong.

On April 25, an eighth grader was arrested for bringing a loaded gun to Oliver Middle School.

But parents began to hear from their students and teachers that the school did not go on lockdown for some time after the gun was found.

That led to a July 14th meeting, where parents openly criticized the school’s administration for not telling the truth about the incident.

“When I left that meeting I was very confused. I didn’t know what the truth was,” said T.C. Weber, a parent of Oliver Middle School students.

“Just give us the truth. And it will set you free,” said Cheri Drummond, a mother of a former Oliver Middle School student.

At the meeting, both principal Hawaya Wilson, and Craig Hammond, MNPS executive director, told parents that as soon as the gun was discovered, the school went on immediate lockdown.

“I know when I was informed that there was a gun in the building, that we went on lockdown immediately,” Wilson said.

“As soon as the weapon was found, the school was placed on lockdown,” Hammonds said.

To fact check that claim, WSMV4 Investigates obtained a Metro Police computer-aided dispatch report, commonly referred to as a CAD, from that day.

It shows a school resource officer called dispatch to alert them about the loaded gun at 11:14 a.m.

A Metro Police report shows the activity report at Oliver Middle School on April 25, 2022.
A Metro Police report shows the activity report at Oliver Middle School on April 25, 2022.(Metro Nashville Police Department)

WSMV4 Investigates then obtained the district’s own after-action report that revealed the school locked down at 11:30.

WSMV4 Investigates shared our findings with Metro Schools spokesman Sean Braisted.

“So how do you explain that gap? That 16-minute gap?” asked WSMV4 Investigates.

“Obviously, they were incorrect to say that the lockdown was called immediately after the gun was found,” Braisted said.

“Did the district bold face lie to these parents?” asked WSMV4 Investigates.

“No. We didn’t have access to things like the CAD until you provided that, so that helped us get a better sense of the timeline,” Braisted said. “We should have done a better job of investigating that so that we could address that.”

Braisted further explained that both Wilson’s and Hammond’s comments were based on information they had at the time, and again, they had not seen the CAD report.

The July 14 meeting came weeks after the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, where it was later exposed that doors were not locked, allowing a gunman to enter the building and classrooms.

And while the incident at Oliver Middle School was not an active shooter scenario, parents knew that the cafeteria where the students were sheltering in place was not locked.

The Metro Schools’ after-action report reads, “that cafeteria doors were not locked due to dean not having a master key and those with a master key not thinking (of) locking of café doors.”

“Do you feel like this was botched?” asked WSMV4 Investigates.

“I wouldn’t say botched. I think there are lessons learned from it. For every event. And this was a lesson learned,” Braisted said.

For Drummond, whose son already moved on to another school this year, the damage is done.

“I feel like a lot of my friends’ children have been pulled out of Oliver Middle this year. For this reason,” Drummond said.

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