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When will all Prince George’s Co. high schools have metal detectors in place? | #schoolsaftey

Metal detectors were installed at DuVal High School two days after the killing of 16-year-old student Jayda Medrano-Moore not far from its Lanham campus.

WTOP’s Dick Uliano talked to DuVal students about the metal detectors Wednesday

In Prince George’s County, Maryland, work has been underway to enhance security at all high schools — and that includes the addition of metal detectors. This week, the devices were installed at DuVal High School in Lanham after the killing of 16-year-old student Jayda Medrano-Moore not far from campus.

New metal and weapons detectors have been installed at DuVal High School in Lanham, Maryland, following the shooting death of a 16-year-old student. (Courtesy Prince George’s County Public Schools)

“It was a tragic incident,” said Gary Cunningham, director of safety and security for Prince George’s County Public Schools.

Cunningham said even though the shooting didn’t happen on the school’s campus, the security additions were implemented by Wednesday morning. For about an hour, a line of students and their belongings were screened before they could enter the school.

Students’ Chromebooks and even musical instruments, which set off the devices, were examined as students went through the metal detectors.

“So, we’re taking those objects from the children, allowing the children to go through and examining the objects to ensure that there’s no contraband,” Cunningham said.

Cunningham was at the school for the rollout and said, despite the delay, he thought it was a success “for the first time ever doing it.”

“We actually got everybody into the school in about an hour which, for 2,700 school students, is pretty good,” Cunningham said.

The goal is to reduce the delay for students to around 25 minutes, Cunningham said.

Time-consuming vs. safety for all: Students react

Some DuVal students felt inconvenienced by the delays caused by the metal detectors.

“It was annoying because, like, I’m trying to get to class,” one student told WTOP’s Dick Uliano.

Meanwhile, others appreciated the new security measure.

“It’s good for everybody’s safety,” another student said.

So far, at DuVal and the six other county schools with the devices, no weapons have been found. In some cases, students who have items such as mace for personal protection are telling security personnel ahead of time.

“They’re self-reporting and turning those things over to us,” Cunningham said.

If the item wasn’t used as a weapon, Cunningham said, parents can come pick it up from the school.

Cunningham said there is a learning curve in figuring out the best placement for the devices and how to make sure they don’t generate false readings.

One benefit of the new models is that they are portable, according to Cunningham, so they can be moved to other doors, or outdoors to screen people going to a sporting event.

In addition to the detectors, DuVal and other area high schools are also getting additional security personnel. At DuVal, the county’s police department has increased patrols outside.

Cunningham said additional training for security personnel and staff is also taking place and has led to additional security steps being taken.

“After the school has opened and students have entered, we’re having our security personnel sweep the grounds to make sure that nobody’s placing or holding any other contraband on school property to retrieve it when they leave,” Cunningham said.

All public high schools will see the security enhancements in place by November, and select middle schools chosen for the additional security will be outfitted with the devices by next spring.

WTOP’s Dick Uliano talked to DuVal students about the metal detectors Wednesday

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