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Students and parents try out new Guilford County Schools body scanners

School leaders Wednesday held an open house to get feedback from students and parents about body scanners on campuses.

GREENSBORO, N.C. — Parents and students are testing a new security measure Guilford County Schools is trying out.

There are two body scanners in two GCS high schools and the district hopes to put them in all high schools to catch weapons before they get on campus.

Before the school bell rings a scanner will beep. Doing daily checks for weapons at school entrances could be the future for Guilford County.

GCS would become the seventh school district nationwide to install them and scan students and visitors before they come in the building.

The community tried it out at an open house at Smith High School. High Point Central is also part of the pilot program and will host an open house Thursday.

"I'm sure it will ease the minds of a lot of parents," Mary Harris said.

Harris' son graduated from Smith High. She came to the open house with her family in mind.

"I have a couple of nieces that are coming to the high school and I don't want them to be afraid. They're already talking about being afraid," Harris said.

Kim Stroud doesn't have any kids in the district but as a Smith alum, she wanted to try the scanner for herself.

"I'm a traveler so it's like going to the airport. It's the same scenario," Stroud said.

The lights on the machine will glow green if no possible weapons are detected. No one has to stop.

If the light turns red, the person will have to stop and be checked. Sometimes an item will set the machine off even if there is no weapon. Teachers and administrators will be watching a screen displaying a camera on the scanner. The screen will put a red box around potentially dangerous items.

Those staff members will decide from there whether the item needs to be searched.

Many school leaders came to get a closer look at the machine. Greensboro Deputy Chief Renae Sigmon did too. 

She supervises the city's School Resource Officer division, plus her child is a GCS high school student.

"As a parent and a police officer, anything that can be done that is a deterrent for someone who has bad intentions is a plus," Sigmon said.

The district will look at feedback from parent surveys before voting to permanently install scanners at all traditional high schools.

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