MEDFORD — Medford Mayor Stephanie M. Burke said she was “astounded” she was not informed directly when an ammunition clip loaded with bullets was found in the auditorium of the McGlynn Middle School nearly two months ago.
The mayor, who was joined by Medford Police Chief Leo Sacco Jr. at the press conference, said neither she nor the chief knew until last Friday about the discovery of a loaded ammo clip at the school Dec. 29, 2017, by a private cleaning company.
“I am both professionally and personally astounded that I was not informed immediately of the incident,” Burke said.
Both the principal of the school, Jake Edwards, and Medford Superintendent Roy Belson were aware of the incident the next day, but neither reported it to her or the police, she confirmed.
“I am deeply concerned about the way this matter was handled by the school administration, the lack of attention to the potential threat the situation imposed, and the lack of notice and communication with police personnel, as well as my office,” Burke said at a press conference Thursday. “It put our entire community at grave risk.”
Burke announced Edwards has been placed on paid administrative leave pending the results of both the ongoing Medford Police investigation as well as an independent investigation by Medford resident and former Massachusetts Attorney General and Middlesex District Attorney Martha Coakley.
In addition, the mayor said 17 police investigative teams, with help from other communities and state police, searched Medford High School and the six other public schools in Medford Thursday for any suspicious objects as a precaution before students return from vacation on Monday. A police presence will be in place at all seven schools Monday morning.
Belson in a statement Tuesday reported Edwards “may have inadvertently thrown away” the ammunition clip while cleaning his office the next day, as it reportedly was left in his office by a school custodian.
Burke said Thursday Edwards said he never saw the clip.
Sacco said there were “at least three, maybe four bullets” in the magazine that was found in the auditorium during school vacation in December.
Sacco encouraged anyone with information about how the ammo clip got into the McGlynn school to talk with the Medford Police Department.
“Someone out there must know something about this,” Sacco said. “Someone might have just left it behind accidentally. It might be something as simple as that. Our schools are safe, but we have to know for sure.”