SCCPSS installs new metal detectors for 2016-17 school year

SCCPSS installs new metal detectors for 2016-17 school year

CHATHAM CO., GA (WTOC) - Pre-planning begins this week for teachers in the Savannah-Chatham County Public School System.

This year, it's not just about new lesson plans, but safety plans also.

Walk-through metal detectors are being installed in all K-8, middle and high schools that will be used for random security screenings

This comes after a number of safety concerns came up during the last school year.

There were several threats circulating on social media last year mentioning schools that would be targeted. Also, a number of violent crimes happened in areas very close to some school campuses.

Campus police was able to get the school board to allocate $132,000 to spend on 34 walk-through metal detectors which will be installed in all K-8, middle and high schools.

Campus police require schools to conduct random screenings three times a week.

These detectors will now be the primary device schools will use to look for prohibited items.

Until this year, schools only had access to handheld wands.

Officials say the detectors are being installed this week and will be ready to use the first week of school.

"I am very hopeful that we don't ever have those types of situations that could be catastrophic. It's something that every superintendent thinks about. 'What if?' Hopefully, we won't, but you know, the world is changing so much," SCCPSS Superintendent Dr. Thomas Lockamy said.

Windsor Forest High School Principal Derrick Butler, began making his rounds, letting teachers know about the district's new safety policy, which incorporates walk-through metal detectors like the ones at the Board of Education building on Bull Street.

"A primary focus of ours is to provide and ensure a safe environment for our students," Butler said.

Teachers share that opinion, after at least a half-dozen threats at schools across the district last year.

"Anything we can do to make everyone feel protected. I don't think it should make them feel unsafe," teacher Jennifer Carter said.

Butler said they will be installing the new detector in the back of the school where students enter from the bus loading area. This is where they will conduct random searches three times a week.

"As students come through the door, we may identify every sixth student or we may have the sixth bus that arrives on campus, have all of those students come through that metal detector," Butler said.

"I think that students recognize the world is changing and that safety is a number one concern," Carter said.

This year, teachers and students are preparing for a learning curve that goes beyond academic subjects.

"I think it's important for us to continue to review our emergency preparedness procedures and continue to find ways to make sure our buildings are safe and secure," Butler said.

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