All TCSS middle and high schools will use metal detectors when school starts

Published 8:45 am Tuesday, August 1, 2023

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When the new school year begins Friday, the Troup County School System is prepared to roll out metal detectors to all of its middle and high schools.

At the end of the 2022-2023 school year, Callaway High School and Troup High School served as a trial run of the metal detectors, which can actually be better described as weapons detection systems. Now, as the new school year starts, every middle school and high school has been equipped with the systems.

“We’re always trying to enhance what we’re doing in terms of safety and security, the metal detectors or weapons detection systems, are just one step of improving the safety in the schools,” Steve Heaton, TCSS’ school safety director, said. “Having people screened as they come into the school system is a big plus for us. I think it will go a long way to make our staff and students feel much more comfortable about who’s coming into the school.”

Heaton said the weapons detection systems are set up in Troup High School, Callaway High School, LaGrange High School, Gardner Newman Middle School, Callaway Middle School and Long Cane Middle School.

“We’ve designed it so that it will have a minimal impact on getting students in and out of the classrooms and there on time. I think after the first couple of weeks people will start getting in sync with what they’re doing and following the different procedures. But the first couple of days are probably going to be hectic,” Heaton said.

Heaton said schools will be sending out information ahead of the first day of school about the metal detectors.

“If that information hasn’t already gone out, it probably will sometime this week,” Heaton said.

“The information will put parents and students on notice that on their very first day of school, they’ll be walking through the weapons detection systems.”

In May, a trial of the weapons detection systems was set up at THS and CHS.

“Through the trial, we learned that preparation is extremely important. The core staff has been trained and some are currently being trained. We trained a bulk of the staff last week, and the systems were set up on the 20th of July,” Heaton said.

“They’ve had them in the schools for a little bit so that they can become familiar and get used to them. We’ve also hired campus security officers, who have been placed in the schools. They will assist the staff with getting the system up and running properly.”

Heaton said the staff has been fully trained and will be working with campus security officers.

“We have provided training to staff and the ones who attended that training are supposed to go back and train the other staff members who weren’t able to come to the training on how to use and how to man the detectors. We plan to use a combination of staff and our campus security officers,” Heaton said.

Heaton said through the beta testing they learned that some things trigger the system.

“We learned that we want to make sure we place them in the right places so that they don’t have false alarms,” Heaton said. “I think the preparation, location of the devices and how they are set up were very important things we learned from running the beta test on the two schools.”