K-12 EDUCATION

Granite School District to pilot a weapons detection system

Feb 9, 2023, 8:30 PM | Updated: Feb 14, 2023, 8:08 am

Image of Hunter High School, which went into lockout protocol on Thursday due to suspicious activit...

FILE: Hunter High School went into lockout protocol on Thursday due to suspicious activity being investigated near the school. (Hunter High Wolverines | Facebook)

(Hunter High Wolverines | Facebook)

WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah — School safety is a topic that has been discussed many times over the years with no real consensus. The Granite School District plans to test out a weapons detection system at Hunter High School.

In a special edition of Dave & Dujanovic at Granger High School on Thursday, Granite School District Spokesperson Ben Horsley joined hosts Dave Noriega and Debbie Dujanovic to discuss the matter.

Which schools will get a weapons detection system?

Dujanovic asked, “How many schools will be getting these, or do they already have them?”

Horsley says the district will be piloting the program at Hunter High School for a variety of reasons. He says many of the newer facilities in the district have one access point to enter the building. Hunter High has two main entries, according to Horsley.

“It does have some of the infrastructure necessary that makes it a good spot to kind of test this weapons detection system out,” Horsley said. “And so, that’s why that location was chosen.”

High school kids are busy

Noriega points out that high school kids are constantly coming and going from school. They have things such as seminary, work release and arrive at different times in the morning.

“How would you use that and try to funnel these kids through, like one place?” Noriega asked.

“You’re asking a lot of questions,” Horsley said. “These are questions we don’t know the answer to. That’s why we’re piloting it. We have not implemented this across the district because we don’t know how well it works or functions.”

Horsley said the weapons detection system is not a metal detector.

“They should allow for the free flow of students to enter and load the building in normal times,” he said. 

Horsley says the detection system will alert school and district officials to any “items that have density material and shape and size of potential weapons.”

Horsley says prior to the pandemic there were one or two weapons brought onto district facilities, district-wide. 

He says that number is already at 16 for this school year. Horsley points out that a lot of those weapons weren’t brandished or used in a threatening way.

“We just know at some point in the course of some of our investigations that they have been on our campuses,” Horsley said. “And that’s completely unacceptable.”

Noriega asked, “What’s the most common weapon to arrive on campus?”

“A handgun,” Horsley said.

The cost

“Do we have an idea how much these weapons systems cost?” Noriega asked.

“The cost of the detection system is actually quite minimal,” Horsley said. “The personnel needed to run them above and beyond a normal high school staff is where the significant cost lies.”

Horsley says the district is bearing the cost of the pilot program. However, he says funding has not been allocated to expand it to the other high schools in the district. 

Horsley says the district has specifically asked the legislature for assistance, beyond the normal funding to help with the cost.

Dave & Dujanovic can be heard weekdays from 9 a.m. to noon. on KSL NewsRadio. Users can find the show on the KSL NewsRadio website and app, as well as Apple Podcasts and Google Play.  

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Granite School District to pilot a weapons detection system