Colleton County School District votes to beef up security

Published: Oct. 25, 2021 at 10:09 PM EDT|Updated: Oct. 25, 2021 at 11:50 PM EDT
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COLLETON COUNTY, S.C. (WCSC) - Soon the number of metal detectors found scattered across the facilities in the Colleton County School District will be tripled. On Monday, the school board voted to increase the number of metal detectors from 6 to 18.

“We have always been focused on the safety of our students and our staff members,” said board member William Bowman. “This is definitely a sign to me that we are doing what we can do to create that safe environment.”

Superintendent Vallerie Cave has made safety and security one of the hallmarks of her administration in the short time she has been the district’s top official. She says their current security measures are limited to a number of hand-held metal detector wands used to screen a certain number of students twice a week, but not all of them.

“Right now, I have over 1,400 children at the high school and over 1,200 children at the middle school. We did some test runs and we are able to get the children through in about 15 to 20 minutes using the metal detectors,” Cave said. “It’s a very safe way to make sure our children are not bringing in any items that they are not supposed to bring in.”

The new detectors will cost $48,600 and will be placed primarily at the middle and high schools with additional units slated for the adult education center, alternative school, and the administrative offices.

Cave says it’s not just about student safety, but staff as well.

“In the district office facility there is no protection when you’re coming into this building,” Cave said. “So, I’d like to put a metal detector screening here for those who come in the building.”

The school board unanimously approved the proposal however, board member Patricia Simmons voiced some hesitation about the optics of tripling the number of metal detectors in the schools.

“There are situations that are going on in the community and they [students] bring it into the school system,” Simmons said. “I just don’t want our children being labeled for something that they are not.”

No timeline was given for when the metal detectors would be installed.

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