Overwhelming support from community to add weapon scanners in Henrico schools

A survey shows 75% of the community wanted the scanners
A community-wide survey shows overwhelming support for the new technology.
Published: May. 25, 2023 at 5:29 PM EDT
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HENRICO, Va. (WWBT) -Henrico Schools have decided to add weapon scanners at the schools after recent gun scares. A community-wide survey shows overwhelming support for the new technology.

The weapon scanners have already been added in other districts, and now Henrico school leaders are looking to join in after they say most of the community wants to see them in the schools.

“We launched a community-wide survey and had almost 7,000 responses to that survey which showed overwhelming support for the addition of new security layers such as weapons scanners,” Superintendent Amy Cashwell said.

Regarding school safety in Henrico, Superintendent Cashwell said the community has made its voice heard.

“Weapon scanner technology was favorable for what we were looking for in Henrico, which was to be able to scan large numbers of students at a time, for it to be unobtrusive, still allow us to create that welcoming school environment but also add that layer of safety,” Dr. Cashwell said.

The scanners are a security system consisting of two towers that students and staff will pass through upon arriving at the building. It can detect weapons that a standard metal detector might miss.

The district plans to add them after a community safety survey showed 75% of the community wanted the scanners, and 85% agreed that more security staff in the building would make them feel safer.

Cashwell also recommended the board add resource officers to elementary schools and extra officers to other schools.

“To partner with our Henrico police partner SROs and our school administrators of our school-based safety team, so overwhelming support for that,” Cashwell said.

The conversation about school safety in Henrico has been ongoing. Last week, a student found a gun inside a bathroom trash can at Longdale Elementary School.

There was no threat or injuries, but the school was placed on lockdown and teach.

Cashwell said the metal scanners would add an extra layer of protection but says security is more than just technology.

“School safety is a community issue, and we all need to work together to make sure our schools are safe,” Cashwell said. “And that might mean families are hyper-vigilant in making sure they know what students have in their backpack when they’re sending them to school, that they’re having conversations about the importance of everyone speaking up when it comes to school safety.”

The school system will look at buying the scanners as soon as possible, using existing money in this year’s budget.

If all goes to plan, they will start popping up in schools in August.