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Henrico County taking new steps to increase safety in schools | #schoolsaftey

HENRICO COUNTY, Va. — New steps will be in place to increase safety in Henrico schools this school year.

It comes as districts across the state are dealing with weapons brought to school by students.

Highland Springs along with the eight other high schools in Henrico County will have weapons detectors in place on the first day of the 2023 school year. According to the district, students will only be able to enter the school through the designated entrance points that have these setups.

John Casoullo the Director of School Safety for Henrico said it’s another tool in the toolbox of security measures the district is taking. He said the equipment will eventually be installed in the rest of the county’s 63 middle and elementary schools.

District officials said the equipment is sought after around the country and may not be fully functioning in all schools until the end of the school year.

“We arare never complicated when it comes to school safety and you are always looking for extra layers to support what you already have in place,” he said.

The school board voted earlier this summer to put weapons detectors in all schools. They did this after field tests in the spring that took place in select schools. They also surveyed parents, students, and teachers.

Casoullo feels like the district did their due diligence to make an informed decision.

Officials find that weapons detectors are similar to metal detectors, but they have two major differences.

Large groups of people can walk through them at the same time, and they only go off for dense metals.

The district said students will only have to take out things like laptops and large metal water bottles. According to Casoullo, trained administration and select staff will to be safety monitors to run it.

If the machine goes off students will be instructed to walk through it again.

The district said if it goes off again students will be pulled to the side to be security wanded and have their belongings searched. They said parents will only be notified if an item is found.

“Everything we do from a safety standpoint is for them. We want them to feel comfortable in their environment – we don’t want them to come to school and be concerned if they are going to be safe walking into school everyday,” Casoullo said

The district feels this method is most effective in adding a layer of security in a less invasive way, while also being effective in not holding up classes. They believe it’s a balance in making sure they are building a safe and positive school environment.

Henrico Schools could not yet give an exact number of how many weapons detectors they have to purchase or the total cost of the project because the equipment is still being ordered.

Depend on CBS 6 News and WTVR.com for in-depth coverage of this important local story. Anyone with more information can email [email protected] to send a tip.

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