Georgetown County Schools hoping to catch weapons at the door
Georgetown, S.C. (WPDE) — Just last week, students in Georgetown County Middle and High Schools may have only seen a metal detector on a monthly basis. Now, according to school leaders, students, visitors and staff could walk through them multiple times each week.
“We’ve always had a policy of using them on a random basis in our middle schools and high schools,” said Alan Walters. Walters is the Director of Safety and Risk Management for the Georgetown County School District.
The district used metal detectors, he said, even before he started four years ago. They became noticeable in Georgetown County schools after Sandy Hook, but now, things are different. Earlier this month, officials found a gun in Georgetown County Middle School all while schools across the country were thinking about Parkland, Fla.
“We’re just being a little more proactive. A little more frequent in how we do those,” he said.
Alan Walters and his team have ordered more detectors for each high school and middle school in the district. When asked how often they’d be used, he wouldn’t say.
“It will truly be random. It could be two days a week at a school and every day the next week so there’s not gonna be any pattern, hopefully, that anybody will detect in the matter in which we do it,” he said.
It’s a shift from their original plan.
“We’ve used those primarily for events such as athletic events, different big exciting things going in our auditoriums,” said Georgetown County School Board Chairman Jim Dumm.
Students at Georgetown High School have noticed.
“We had been using it maybe a couple of years ago, but it was only maybe once, max twice a year,” said Brian Hernandez.
In the last week, he’s been screened at least twice, he said.
But he said it’s a change that can only be good.
“[They’re] keeping it safe on our behalf and that’s it,” he said.
Some parents expressed concerns, asking why metal detectors wouldn’t be used every day. Walters said that could someday be a possibility, but it would be a costly option. He said typically each metal detector station takes about five people to effectively operate.