JAMESTOWN, N.C. — Guilford County Sheriff's Office confirmed a gun was found at Ragsdale High School in Jamestown Thursday.
Deputies said a school resource officer reported a student tried to enter the high school around 9:13 a.m. but was stopped by school staff after triggering the body scanner alert.
The student's backpack was searched and a handgun was found. As school officials uncovered the gun, the student grabbed the backpack and tried to run away from campus but was found by deputies.
Guilford County Schools released this statement:
"Today, at Ragsdale High School, a touchless security screener alerted staff of a weapon being brought onto campus, resulting in law enforcement confiscating a gun. The weapon was discovered as soon as the student arrived, and no one was threatened or harmed.
The Guilford County Sheriff's Office is leading an investigation, and proper school disciplinary action is being followed in accordance with the student code of conduct.
GCS installed touchless security screeners at all comprehensive high schools before the start of the traditional 2022-2023 school year."
Assistant Superintendent over school safety, Mike Richey says this should be a message to other students that the district is taking school safety seriously.
"Quite frankly we never want to see a weapon in school but if something good can come out of it so that someone else knows I can’t do that, then we can use this for the positive," said Richey.
Richey says, without the scanners, the gun may not have been discovered as quickly.
However, he does feel that it would have likely been found thanks to diligence from other students.
"So I really don't think there would have been handled as quickly I will tell you that I think it probably would have been resolved because we have a great system of kids knowing if they see it to say something. Remember, that's the other thing we talk about all the time is to see something, say something," said Richey.
Alice Fine's daughter is a senior at Ragsdale High School. Over the summer, she told WFMY News 2's Amber Lake she was in favor of the scanners.
"If it protects one child from that one incident, that's going to make it all worth it," Fine said in July.
On Thursday, she said she got a phone call from the district letting her know that a weapon was found. A few minutes later her daughter called her to let her know what happened.
"I asked if she was okay and what kind of weapon it was. She told me it was a gun and that's when I was extremely thankful for those detectors that they have. I've always been 100% for them and this right here is exactly why for it I was for them," Fine said. "What could’ve happened if they hadn’t caught that gun? Who would’ve lost their child today? I don’t want to think about that. I want to think my daughter is safe when she goes to school. I don’t wanna worry about whether she is going to be shot or not."
Richey said it's unclear why the student brought the gun onto campus.
During the period of August to January of last school year, five guns had been found at schools throughout Guilford County.
District leaders say the fact that only 2 have been found this year is proof that the scanners are working to keep students safe.
A spokesperson for Evolv, the company that manufactures the scanners, says their systems uncovered over 100,000 weapons in 2022.
The company released the following statement:
"Empowering schools to create a safer environment for learning is a central part of our mission at Evolv. Our systems found over 100,000 weapons in 2022. We partner each day with schools around the country, in addition to hospitals, workplaces, theme parks and stadiums, working to keep weapons out of places where they should not be so that people can gather safely."
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