Guilford County Schools is launching a pilot program during summer school to test touchless body scanners at some high schools. Parents and community members can see how they work during two open houses this week.
The scanners are installed at the entrance of Smith High School and High Point Central High.
District leaders say the touchless technology known as Evolv Express can screen 3,600 people per hour and works ten times faster than metal detectors. Students don't have to take their bags off or empty their pockets because it has the ability to determine the difference between weapons and ordinary daily items such as keys and computers.
Executive Director of Safety and Emergency Management with the school system, Mike Richey, says this program is meant to address concerns about long lines, privacy, and staffing.
“This scanner system is for high volumes of people to come into school and it's really directed at schools where the threats are from internal, which is what the evidence shows for high schools,” says Richey.
Guilford County Schools says it does not collect or store any personally identifiable information. Federal COVID relief dollars are being used to fund the technology.
Richey says five handguns were confiscated on campuses this past school year and a report of a sixth one was made, but never found.
“And I will say this all day every day: the number one thing that we can do for school safety is create strong relationships within our schools," says Richey. "This is one more layer that will help us in securing a location that we believe we can secure better.”
An open house to learn more about the scanners will be held at Smith High on June 22, and at High Point Central on June 23. Both will take place from 4 to 6 p.m.
The district will collect feedback from the open house. If the program is successful, the technology will be installed in all high schools in Guilford County.
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