In light of growing school safety concerns, OCPS began talks of ways to create safer schools. Beginning in July, the district started discussing ways of adding more levels of security to schools. These discussions resulted in the addition of metal detector wands to the middle and high school campuses.
“This has been an ongoing conversation since July in reaction to the laws created for school safety. This is one of the items [the district] layered in to make a statement to those trying to do harm,” Principal Dusty Johns said.
The wands serve to provide a way to find any weapons that may be on campus.
“If people have weapons [administrators] can catch them. They make school safer,” junior Jacqueline Develder said.
Orange County Public Schools Police Department conducted a training for the administrators carrying the wands. This training took place in the form of videos. In addition to video training, the district hosted a video conference for all personnel in charge of carrying the wands. The training showed administrators how to properly use the wands and what not to do.
Part of the process requires schools to send a list of all classes offered on campus. The first time the detectors were used at Boone on Aug. 16, the district told the school what class to go into the day before. The district chose this class at random. The students in the chosen class left their bags in the room and walked out. After this, administrators screened the bags and were looking for weapons such as knives and guns. This procedure can change at any time so it doesn’t become predictable.
However, administration does not intend to scare students. Instead, they hope to show that they will not allow students to threaten the campus.
“Those who are doing the right thing, who want a safe learning environment, should not take this as [us saying] we do not trust them or the school is not safe. This means it will be safe,” Johns said.