COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – High school students in Columbus will soon see some changes when it comes to safety and security measures.
Starting next week, all Columbus high schools will use Evolv Technology’s weapon detection screeners. Students will be screened daily and will be funneled through one entrance, the district announced Friday.
“What it changes is it lets kids know that you’re going to be screened every morning when you come to school,” said Chris Baker, director of safety and security for Columbus City Schools. “Bring your books, bring your lunch, but don’t bring the weapons — we’re going to detect those things and those will be confiscated from you.”
Previously, Columbus schools used metal detectors on randomly selected days, but Baker said it was a time-consuming process that often led to long lines. The screeners from Evolv are much more efficient, he said, which is why they’ll be used daily.
“We know we have guns in our schools, that’s a major concern, we have to do something,” said Baker. “With the installation of this equipment, and this technology, on a daily basis, it will eliminate and reduce those opportunities for those students to just randomly walk into our school buildings with weapons.”
A gun was found in a student’s bag at Eastmoor Academy Thursday. At least a dozen guns have been found on Columbus City Schools property since the start of the academic year.
The district is spending a little more than $3 million on the technology, according to a four-year lease agreement approved at a December board of education meeting.
La’Won Sellers, whose daughter attends high school in Columbus, said he thinks daily security screenings are “needed severely.”
“Over the years, you’ve seen a lot of violence take place at high schools, and this is one way to help prevent that,” said Sellers. “It’s not a solution just yet, but it’s leading to one.”
High schools will start using the new systems starting Monday, and they’re expected to be fully operational by Feb. 27.
“When I went to schools we didn’t have to be concerned about these things,” Baker said. “But the way the world is today, the communities around our schools, the state of Ohio, the nation, we have to be prepared.”