WS/FCS increasing metal detection as year winds down

Published 12:08 am Thursday, May 23, 2024

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WINSTON-SALEM — As the school year comes to a close, students across the district can expect to be inspected a little more thoroughly.

Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools Superintendent Tricia McManus announced that beginning last week, the use of random metal detection as students enter all WS/FCS middle and high schools will “significantly increase” during the last four weeks of the school year. 

“Gun violence in our community continues to be of concern,” McManus said. “Although guns found on our school campuses have been greatly reduced, in recent weeks, we have had multiple students impacted by gun violence in our community and have seen several examples of guns being left unsecure and ending up in the hands of our children. 

“Within the past week, guns have ended up on two of our high school campuses. Although the weapons were not used, one was accidentally discharged in a student’s book bag and the other was discovered in a car in the student parking lot. One gun brought to school by a student is too many, and regardless of the intent, we need to ensure this does not happen as we work to keep all of our students and staff safe.” 

WS/FCS will increase the frequency of random metal detection for up to five days in each middle and high school. Along with the increased, random usage, the district’s safety and security team will use this time to analyze the process and determine the next steps for the 2024-2025 school year.  

“Our current process delays students’ entry and we ask for parents’ patience and understanding,” McManus said. “We believe there is a way to improve the process and that is what our safety and security team, working alongside our law enforcement partners, will focus on during the next four weeks. Safety has been and will continue to be our priority.” 

Parents are being asked to work with their children so that students are only bringing the most necessary items to school.  The entry process will be faster and more thorough if students have less belongings with them and in their book bags.   

WS/FCS understands that this security measure does not take the place of continued behavioral and mental-health support for students. Those supports are making a difference.  However, district leaders agree schools must continue doing both.