In the wake of rising gun violence and last year's deadly shooting at Mount Tabor High School, Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools safety officials have partnered with a state agency to reduce the presence of guns on campuses county-wide.
Firearm possession numbers among students in Triad-area schools have fluctuated greatly over the past five years due to the pandemic, but the ongoing threat has led to the development of several proactive measures: safe-school training, streamlining reunification efforts in the event of a school shooting, and portable metal detectors. Earlier this year, the school district was awarded more than $300,000 from the state to purchase roughly 70 of the walk-thru machines.
Chief Safety, Security and Emergency Management Officer Jonathan Wilson with the district says their use will be limited but necessary.
"They're not to be used every day," says Wilson. "We don't want a situation where we basically turn a school into a TSA checkpoint — loading a plane and you have to walk through and get slowed down to that degree. But we would use them for events and we'd use them for days where we had a verified threat."
Each middle and high school will receive two portable metal detectors. Wilson says additional security measures currently being implemented include adopting the Say Something Anonymous Reporting System and bully patrol apps, expanded security camera installations, and the recent purchase of nearly 100 AED defibrillator machines.