Metal Detectors A Success At Lancaster County Schools

LANCASTER COUNTY —  One way to stop weapons from getting into schools is using metal detectors. Lancaster County Schools started using them in high schools about a year ago. Since then, officials say no guns have been found on those campuses. In the past 10 years, five guns have been found in Lancaster County Schools.

There’s one walk-through metal detector at each of the district’s five high schools. They cost around $6,000 each. Since the district started using them last year, no reports of guns at schools.

Parents tell WCCB they support the metal detectors.

“With everything going on now I think that as a parent it makes me feel much safer sending my kids to school,” says a parent of a student at Lancaster High School.

The metal detectors are not just at entrances; they’re moved around. Students are called out of their classrooms and walk through it. Meanwhile, a gun-sniffing dog checks bags.

Bryan Vaughn, Director of Safety and Transportation for Lancaster School District, says each classroom takes about six minutes to check.

“You always have that sense of surprise, kids don’t know when it’s coming. Everybody knows that you’re doing something and you’re actually being proactive,” says Vaughn.

Seven guns have been found on Charlotte-Mecklenburg school campuses so far this year. CMS parents are desperate for a solution.

WCCB Charlotte’s Alexandra Elich asked the CMS Police Chief on Tuesday if she would consider using metal detectors in schools:

“Absolutely, Absolutely. We’re looking at all of those options and we will make the best decision to protect our kids,” says CMS Police Chief Lisa Mangum.

Lancaster County has 25 schools, compared to 170 in Charlotte-Mecklenburg.

The Wake County school district is similar in size to CMS. A spokesperson for the district says they have walk-through and wand metal detectors that are used when needed.