A sharp-eyed staff member at Lincoln High School yesterday morning spotted a student who did not belong in the school because he had been suspended on Monday for fighting.
But trespassing turned out to be the least of this kid's problems. He was also carrying a loaded 9 mm handgun.
Because the nonteaching assistant who spotted the student told school police quickly, the 17-year-old 11th-grader was questioned, frisked and the gun was found, said James Golden, the school district's safety chief.
The boy was arrested by a Philadelphia police officer whose beat includes the school, at 3201 Ryan Ave. in the Northeast.
The student's name was not released because he is a juvenile. He was charged with violating the Uniform Firearms Act and with trespassing, according to a spokeswoman for the Philadelphia Police Department.
In addition, he has been given a 10-day suspension and the intention is to expel him permanently to an alternative disciplinary school, Golden said.
The student remained in custody last night awaiting word from a judge on whether he'd be released to his parents or held at the city's Youth Study Center, the police spokeswoman said.
The incident marked the 13th time a gun was found in or near a district school building this year, a jump from last year when 8 guns were recovered, according to numbers released by the school district yesterday.
Golden said the student in the latest incident had been suspended Monday after he and a group of students fought with another group of students.
He, along with his parents, were not supposed to be back at the school until next Monday. Instead he returned to the school at about 9:45 a.m., and entered through a cafeteria door, which had been left open by a deliveryman. When the man turned his back, Golden said, the student slipped in.
Though the motive for the fighting between the arrested student and the others is still under investigation, it appears to have started in the neighborhood and carried over to school, said Golden and students familiar with the situation.
The gun-toting student was jumped by another student and adult members of that students' family before the Monday school fight, students said.
The Monday fight may have been retaliation for the previous fight, they said.
Jared McIntire, a student at nearby Austin Meehan Middle School, said the arrested student has a bruised reputation.
"Nobody likes him and they pick on him because he talks trash. He likes to start trouble," said McIntire, 14, while he and a group of friends stood on a street corner across from Lincoln.
"He has a record of suspensions dating back to last school year and this school," Golden said. This year the student has been suspended four times, and he was suspended four times last year as well.