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Local School Board Votes to Install Weapons Detection System

May 7, 2024

In a unanimous decision this evening during its monthly meeting, the Cumberland County Board of Education voted to implement a weapons detection system in schools across the district for the upcoming 2024-2025 school year.

According to school officials, efforts will be made during the summer to install two OPENGATE screeners, which are portable, ready-to-use, non-intrusive weapon detection systems, in all schools for use by the beginning of the new school year.

"Providing our schools with preventative tools for the safety of our students and staff is of utmost importance," said Cumberland County Schools' (CCS) Associate Superintendent of Auxiliary Services Kevin Coleman.

Coleman outlined the plan to station both OPENGATE systems at two designated school entry points during morning hours, staffed by 2-3 school personnel. Subsequently, the systems would be relocated to the main school entrance to monitor visitor entry throughout the day.

The move to install weapons detectors comes almost one year after more than 200 district and community leaders, law enforcement officers, families, educators and students engaged in a CCS Community Conversations forum geared toward enhancing school safety measures in response to the escalating incidents of school violence witnessed nationwide.

Three prevailing recommendations among the group included increasing the number of security cameras in schools, offering de-escalation training for school staff and implementing metal detectors.

This safety and security measure joins other recent efforts by the district that include installing and using a visitor management system and improving camera systems throughout the district by incorporating the use of artificial intelligence (AI).