EDUCATION + SCHOOLS

Weapon detection system to come to Utah schools

Jan 23, 2023, 3:00 PM

The goal of the weapon detection system is to allow kids easy navigation of the school while keepin...

Protest sign reading "Teachers and students deserve safe classrooms." (Photo: KSL-TV)

(Photo: KSL-TV)

SALT LAKE CITY — Three schools in the Granite and Salt Lake school districts are installing a minimally invasive pilot weapon detection system. This decision comes a year after a 15-year-old shot three Hunter High students near the campus.

The goal is to allow kids easy navigation in and out of the school while keeping their safety at the forefront. 

Yándary Chatwin, SLCSD executive director of communications and community relations told Dave and Dujanovic that although the systems aren’t installed yet, she anticipates the detection process will be simple. 

“Have you ever walked through a public library, you know those things they have to know if you’ve checked out a book or not? It looks exactly like that. So they’re very minimally destructive. Kids walk through and they’re not going to get stopped unless something shows up. So it’ll just be really quick and easy,” Chatwin said.

How the new weapon detection system works

As far as the logistics of the new system go, the detection sensitivity is adjustable. Therefore, items such as belt buckles won’t set it off. 

When students walk through the system a security officer observes the screen to verify detected items, according to Chatwin. 

The machine isolates the area of detected items, therefore no invasive patdown is necessary. 

“So if it’s in their left shoe or in their backpack, if something is being sent they know exactly where to look, it’s not an invasive patdown or anything like that. But really, the idea is to keep the flow moving and to help us to keep schools safe,” Chatwin said. “You’d really be surprised how often weapons are on campus sometimes unintentionally. Maybe someone went on a camping trip and forgot to get a knife out of their bag or something like that.” 

For example, Chatwin said, only a few months ago at Highland High School, multiple weapons entered the building, intentionally or not. Therefore, a system such as this one would help prevent students from accidentally bringing weapons on campus. 

The location of the new systems varies from school to school. This week, schools, along with the vendor, will walk through schools and find locations for the system. 

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