GUILFORD COUNTY, N.C. — Guilford County Schools announced they are putting touchless body scanners in all high schools in the district.
The school district said it will cost them $800,000 a year. For the first two years, they will use federal money to cover the cost, but after that, they will have to figure out how to afford them.
School officials said there will be multiple entrances with scanners at schools, but once the first bell rings there will only be a single entrance.
They plan to have the scanners ready to go by the second and third week of August in time for the high school open houses.
The district did a pilot program with the scanners at High Point Central High School in High Point and Smith High School in Greensboro. Because of the success of the program, they decided to move forward and put 43 scanners in their 19 high schools.
"One of the things that really lead to our desire for this was to find a system that could do the screening that a lot of our community members wanted that did not have negative mental and impacts or negative daily impacts on our students and their learning environment," said Mike Richey, the Executive Director of Emergency Management Safety and Security for GCS.
Richey said during the pilot program period of summer school, the scanners did not catch any weapons but he said they did not expect them to.
"We do expect this to be a major deterrent factor in bringing weapons," Richey said. "At the other school systems that have put them in, especially the school systems that put them in because of weapons and the fact that they have seen an increase in weapons, what the school system has noticed is a tremendous decrease in the recovery of weapons.'
The scanners are only going into high schools right now, but that could change in the future.
"All high schools will have this extra safety measure and that’s an important distinction. The majority of violence from students who would be walking through it occurs at the high school level nationwide. 84% of all school shooter situations are high school related so that’s why we are looking at high schools first. If it’s successful and we see any kind of violence moved to our middle school area we will consider middle schools as well in the future."
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