Eight students were robbed in a basement hallway of Sousa Junior High School yesterday by two men armed with pistols who entered the building at lunch time. The bandits described as being in their early 20s, took a total of $77.30 and two wristwatches from the victims before fleeing the area on foot.
"We were standing around outside the shop classroom," said one of the victims, who asked not to be identified, "when we saw these two dudes walking around. I thought they were custodians or something. Then one looked down the hall and they came toward us and pushed my friend into a wall.The other one pulled a gun and said, "Throw your money on the ground.'"
The victims, all youths, ranged in age from 14 to 16.
"They patted us all down, took some watches and all the money, and then told us to walk straight down the hall toward the lunchroom. As we started down the hall, they ran away."
The victim said that he and the others went into the lunchroom and told the principal, Eleanor D. Winston, what had happened.
Winston could not be reached for comment last night.
School superintendent Vincent E. Reed said no special security precautions are taken at the school at 37th Street and Ely Place SE.
"Sure, just anyone can walk in," he said. "Some of these schools have 80 entrances and exits, and the fire department says you can't lock any doors at any time. So how can you have security."
Lois Walker, the mother of one of the victims, was taking a nap when school officials called to tell her about the robbery.
"You know, I panicked as soon as I heard the word robbery," she said. "I'm still upset. I want to know how they got in the building in the first place -- strangers shouldn't be able to just wander in off the street.
"Because I'm home all day, I see the kids who've dropped out, hanging around school and waiting to influence the ones who're still trying to learn. It scares me. Seems like there's always something to be worried about when your kids are in the D.C. schools."