Hampton, Virginia – The Hampton City Department of Schools is expanding its use of Bluetooth-powered weapon detection systems to prevent guns and knives from entering school buildings.
James Bailey, former Hampton City Police Officer and current Hampton City Schools Security Supervisor, said: “I hope we don’t find anything. We want our kids to make good choices.”
The high school launched a weapons detection system last year, according to Hampton school district leaders. This year they expanded the device to the district’s middle school, Pre-K-8 school and Kilgore Gifted Center.
Kilgore Gifted Center student Jaden Ellis said:
Jaden’s mother, Nicole Ellis, said, “If it’s an extra layer of precaution and safety, I’m fine with it.” [my son] I hope you go to school and come home safely. ”
The district’s weapons detection system, which costs $12,000 per unit, is designed to detect guns and knives, Bailey said. Students must pass through detectors to enter the building each day. The device is portable and can be easily transported for use at large school events.
“This is the same [type of] It’s the unit that Busch Gardens uses all over the country,” Bailey said. “We focus on creating a safe and nurturing environment. We don’t want our school to look like a prison.”
“Before you teach children, you have to know that they are safe above all else,” said Dwayne Lucas, principal of Tarrant Middle School in the Hamptons. “It’s very important to make sure we are proactive.”
A spokesperson for Hampton City Schools said it plans to expand the device to all elementary schools in the future.
News 3’s investigative team also learned that Portsmouth Public Schools tested the device at Manor High School last year, and plans to have the device installed in all high and middle schools by the end of the year. Norfolk Public Schools and Suffolk City Public Schools department leaders said they are considering using the units on campus as well.
“When you pass through the airport or go to an amusement park, [using these devices], I believe it is working. We are reducing the harm caused by the outbreak,” said Nicole Ellis.
While there are growing calls for the installation of metal detectors in schools nationwide, shooting in texasthere are critics.
“It’s like a metal detector. Every day seems extreme,” student Kiara Alexander told a special. school safety forum.
Interest in the use of metal detectors in Hampton Roads school districts grew when Newport News students brought guns to school. heritage high school Last year, I shot and injured one of my classmates. The News 3 investigative team learned that Newport News Public Schools middle and high schools have metal detectors available and are used randomly every day. Other Hampton Roads neighborhoods have similar policies.
In addition, department leaders from the seven cities confirmed that additional measures are being taken to enhance school security. school security guardsecurity cameras, anonymous tip lines, visitor authentication systems.