Education

After finding a loaded gun at school, Scott County revisiting metal detectors

Drone footage of Great Crossing High School

Drone footage showing the newly constructed Great Crossing High School in Georgetown. The first day of school will be Aug. 21.
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Drone footage showing the newly constructed Great Crossing High School in Georgetown. The first day of school will be Aug. 21.

After a student was arrested last week for taking a loaded gun to Scott County’s new high school, that district’s school board is revisiting the issue of installing walk-through metal detectors, board chairman Kevin Kidwell told the Herald-Leader Wednesday.

Kidwell said school board members considered installing metal detectors two years ago before Great Crossing High School was built and decided against it. But he said as a result of last week’s incident and requests from parents to install metal detectors, “we’re updating our information.”

“We are revisiting our data that we had about metal detectors because of that incident,” Kidwell said. On August 28, a 15-year-old student was arrested and a loaded gun confiscated after another student alerted school officials.

Kidwell said the school board would have revisited the question of whether they should install walk-through metal detectors even if parents had not made the request. He noted that two members of the school board had a child attending Great Crossing.

Kidwell said he is reaching out to parents who have asked that metal detectors be installed and they indicated they wanted walk-through metal detectors at Great Crossing High School, at the district’s other main high school, Scott County High School, and the district’s middle schools.

“I’m not saying that we wouldn’t put them in,” Kidwell said. But he said until the board receives more information, “we’re not getting into a knee jerk situation.”

Nearby Fayette County Public Schools in Lexington have been installing walk-through metal detectors at all high schools and middle schools and hiring ‘security ambassadors’ to help with searches.

The day after the Scott student was arrested for bringing a loaded gun into Great Crossing High School, parents asked at a school board meeting for walk-through metal detectors, according to the Georgetown News-Graphic.

A petition from a citizen on change.org to place metal detectors in Scott County public schools had by 9:30 a.m. Thursday received 756 signatures with a goal of 1,000 signatures.

Francessca Kelley, who was identified as starting the petition, could not immediately be reached for comment. But her post on change. org said, “Adding metal detectors to our school’s is a safety precaution we should be willing to pay for with our growing population. We have paid for an abundance of perks for our schools, why would we not pay for added safety?

“Metal detectors are not fool proof however along with awareness and training we can limit what is brought in our schools, not limited to weapons, but vaping devices, lighters...,” the post said.

Kidwell said a safety committee meets every month to review issues in the school district. He said the school district already has metal detector wands that officials use when necessary.

Scott Superintendent Kevin Hub said Wednesday that his team continues to have discussions about all the options they can use to keep students and staff safe in district schools. But Hub said they have not changed their position on installing walk-through metal detectors.

“That being said,” Hub said, “we will certainly support any new safety initiatives the Board (of Education) wishes to consider.”

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