KERSHAW COUNTY, S.C. — The Kershaw County School District is rolling out a new security measure to all middle and high schools called ‘OpenGate’.
The system looks to see if there is any metal on the student, or in anything they’re carrying. It can detect a one-inch piece of metal, and even vaping products.
“If this deters one student from bringing any type of weapon, then we feel it’s worth it,” says Billy Smith, Chief Operations Officer for the District.
The Continuous Learning Center in Camden became the first school in the district to implement the new weapons detection system.
“OpenGate allows us to actually move students through at a much faster pace because it’s very much more in tune to weapons, knives, small caliber handguns, and things like that,” Smith adds.
The county hasn’t had anything like it before in schools.
The system was piloted at graduations last year and is now being rolled out across middle and high schools in the district this month.
“We have four of these systems at each high school and two at each middle school,” Smith adds.
The district also installed them at the Woolard Technology Center.
Dr. Karen Oldham, the Director of the Continuous Learning Center, says so far it’s run smoothly at her school, as students know what needs to come out. “The laptop instantly comes out, the charger, we have the phones also go in the basket, also the three-ring binder if they are about one inch or larger, it will catch a inch piece of metal at ease, maybe smaller dependent on how much metal is in the item,” Oldham said.
If the detector goes off students must go back through and open their bags for staff to inspect.
The machines are operated by school resource officers and staff.
Parent Rebecca Hudson is happy the change has been made to her son’s school. “I think it’s fantastic, it makes me as a parent feel a lot more confident about my child attending school and not worrying about what all might be brought into the school,” Hudson said.
They also can be moved to elementary schools if requested and also to extracurricular events.