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GCS says they are adding new security features to schools

In Tuesday night's meeting, GCS board of education members discussed safety and security updates on actions being taken to protect students and staff.

GREENSBORO, N.C. — At the Guilford County Board of Education meeting Tuesday night, the board gave a security update on school safety.

Executive Director of Safety and Security Mike Richey explained what's being done to make sure all students at all schools in the district are protected.

Richey said for decades, auto accidents have been the leading cause of death among children but in 2020, gun deaths surpassed that.

One topic Richey discussed was an update on the touchless body scanners being put in all high schools. 

Guilford County Schools said the scanners would be monitored by staff.

Kearns Academy and the Academy at Smith started their school year last week and have the screeners already installed.

Next week, they will be placed in the rest of the high schools with training conducted at each school.

“Our next steps, are the rest of those screeners. They are actually in our warehouses here in Guilford County today. They’ve been here for about a week or so and we are installing them next week August 15 through the 18th at each of the remaining high schools,“ Richey said. 

Another area talked about is the CrisisGo app.

This app allows teachers to talk directly with administrative staff during the school day to report any incidents or share information.

What's new this year, is that students will now be able to report incidents themselves, anonymously directly to the administration.

"Almost every threat we mitigated this year came because a child told an adult who contacted the right person to get the help," Richey said.

He also emphasized the importance of developing strong relationships between students and trusted staff. 

Richey said this makes the biggest difference in school safety. 

He also talked about security cameras at schools and said they will be getting a video management system update as well as additional security cameras installed where needed.

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Guilford County Schools said the scanners would be monitored by staff. Students, staff, and guests will walk through the touchless scanners as they enter the building.

GCS said if anyone leaves school campus, they will have to come through the front entrance to enter the campus again back through the scanners.

“Schools with multiple entrances will funnel access to the campus through central locations, and screeners will be installed at each of those locations,” GCS spokeswoman Gabriel Brown told WFMY.

The body scanners are designed to detect items like the barrel of a weapon.

If the scanner goes off, a staff member will pull the individual aside and search only the area that set off the screener.

GCS said if a weapon is found, the school will follow its safety plan, which involves working with the school resource officer and other emergency services agencies.

The school system said as the school year progresses, they will consider using the scanners in other settings like sporting events.

The school district said it will cost them $800,000 a year for the scanners. For the first two years, they will use federal money to cover the cost, but after that, they will have to figure out how to afford them.

Guilford County Schools students on traditional schedules return to classrooms August 29. 

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