Henrico Schools moving forward in testing metal detectors this month

Published: Feb. 3, 2023 at 5:14 PM EST|Updated: Feb. 3, 2023 at 6:22 PM EST
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HENRICO, Va. (WWBT) - Henrico County Public Schools will soon begin field testing metal detectors and other safety protocols across the school division.

Richneck Elementary School, where police say a six-year-old student shot a teacher last month, now having students arrive to school on new terms, through metal detectors. Schools in Henrico County Public Schools could soon follow suit.

The potential plan has been in the works for a few months, but Superintendent Dr. Amy Cashwell says they discussed the potential safety measure during a town hall meeting Thursday evening.

“We’re looking at every angle. We’re not complacent,” Amy Cashwell said.

During the 2021-2022 school year, Henrico confiscated nearly 90 weapons from students, nine of which were guns.

So far this school year, the division has confiscated around 30 weapons. Four of those were also firearms.

Last Friday, a student was accused of bringing a loaded gun to Holman Middle School. A threatening message was also found at Pocahontas Middle School the Wednesday prior.

“It has been incredibly concerning to see the rise in the youth crime in violence, really over the past school years. Both in Henrico Schools and in the community,” Cashwell said.

Starting next week, Cashwell says the division will test metal detectors, wands and other safety measures starting at middle and high schools.

Cashwell says their school’s principal will notify families if their school is participating.

She says additional safety measures can be helpful, but she’s also calling on parents and guardians to be proactive in their child’s life.

“I would ask families and caregivers to know what students are posting on social media, what they have in their backpacks when they leave for school each day, what they may have in their pockets, have conversations with our young people about this important, critical issue,” Cashwell said.

Cashwell says they’ll run testing until around spring break.

She says field testing these safety measures does not mean these protocols will be permanent.

It’s important to note the school division has other safety measures in place, including security resource officers and an anonymous alert system.