Emergency vehicles participate in a lockdown at Berkley High School Feb. 23 after a student found a bullet on the floor inside the school.

Emergency vehicles participate in a lockdown at Berkley High School Feb. 23 after a student found a bullet on the floor inside the school.

Photo by Deb Jacques


Berkley High placed under lockdown after bullet found in hallway

By: Mike Koury | Woodward Talk | Published February 23, 2018 | Updated February 26, 2018 5:04pm

 Berkley High School was put into lockdown for two hours Feb. 23 after a student found a bullet on the floor of a hallway and reported the finding to school staff.

Berkley High School was put into lockdown for two hours Feb. 23 after a student found a bullet on the floor of a hallway and reported the finding to school staff.

Photo by Deb Jacques

 Police dogs and their handlers participate in the police response to Berkley High School after a student reported finding a bullet on the floor in a hallway Feb. 23.

Police dogs and their handlers participate in the police response to Berkley High School after a student reported finding a bullet on the floor in a hallway Feb. 23.

Photo by Deb Jacques

BERKLEY — Berkley High School was placed under lockdown for approximately two hours after a student found a bullet on the floor in a hallway Friday, Feb. 23.

The bullet had been left in a student’s coat pocket and fell out of the pocket, according to a Feb. 26 statement from the school’s principal, Randy Gawel.

“It turns out that the bullet that was found was acquired by a student a couple of weeks ago (outside of school) and was in the pocket of a coat that the student had not worn since that time,” he stated. “The bullet, unbeknownst to the student, fell from the coat pocket to the ground in the auditorium hallway during an assembly. Another student saw the bullet and reported it to administration. The resultant lockdown and search by public safety then took place.” 

The district’s communications supervisor, Jessica Stilger, said she couldn’t comment on any student discipline. 

“We have a student code of conduct and will follow the guidelines set forth in that document,” Stilger said via text.

The Berkley Public Safety Department had posted on its Facebook page at 1:14 p.m. Feb. 23 that the school was under lockdown.

“Berkley public safety is currently looking into an incident of a bullet found at Berkley High and are placing the school in lockdown. We feel at this time there is no direct threat, but are taking every precaution to ensure safety of community and students. We will follow up later. Any questions will not be answered at this time, and we will notify when (the) lockdown is lifted,” the statement read.

Stilger said that the lockdown came after a student found a 9 mm bullet on the ground in one of the hallways and turned it in to the school. 

“As soon as that was turned in, public safety was called on-site very quickly,” she said Feb. 23. “They’re conducting a thorough investigation of the building, including locker searches, and as soon as we know more from them, and at their recommendation, we will pull the building out of lockdown, but not until public safety gives us the all-clear.”

The bullet was found during lunchtime, and public safety was informed by school officials at around 12:15 p.m., Berkley Public Safety Detective Lt. Andrew Hadfield said. The lockdown was put into effect at around 1 p.m.

The Public Safety Department posted shortly after 3 p.m. that the lockdown had ended.

“We thank the community and families for their patience and understanding while we investigated,” the statement read. “At this time the lockdown has been lifted, and Berkley Public Safety will continue to investigate. We are so proud of our students for bringing this to the attention of school administrators and for the parents’ support as we worked to quickly clear up any concerns.”

Hadfield elaborated that the hallways, lockers and common areas in the school were searched and nothing was found. He said the department was assisted in the search by Oakland County sheriff’s and Southfield police K-9 units, as well as the Oak Park and Huntington Woods public safety departments.

“There’s been no direct threats to the school from any students,” he said. “Once that had been completed — it was just before the end of school — we just continued the lockdown in place until the normal school release time, where the students were released.”

Gawel thanked those involved for the way they handled the situation.

“Understanding that it was a difficult situation for everyone, it should be noted that students, parents and staff all responded to the lockdown calmly and with great understanding of the need to take these situations seriously. Given this, we would like to thank everyone for the way in which they handled themselves during the lockdown,” he stated.