Prince William Co. schools considering weapons screening at school entrances

Prince William County Public Schools in Virginia is considering additional safety measures to keep students safe, Superintendent LaTanya McDade said in an email to county families on Friday.

The state’s second-largest school system is thinking about adding security screening technology that allows for non-evasive detection of weapons, McDade said.

It would be similar to the technology used in sports stadiums and museums, McDade explained, and Manassas City Public Schools has voted to install the technology in their high school.

The county plans to seek feedback from parents and community members, and could introduce the screening technology in schools as early as the next school year, according to McDade.

McDade’s message came after a shooting in Newport News, Virginia, where a 6-year-old-boy shot his teacher with a gun he brought to school.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the Richneck Elementary School community,” McDade wrote. “Unfortunately, the news of the recent school shooting is not an isolated incident, and PWCS recognizes the need to respond proactively to this discouraging nationwide trend.”

McDade also reminded families about its Say Something reporting system, which enables students and staff to anonymously report “concerns of potentially unsafe behavior.”

The school system is also in the process of upgrading its radio and camera systems, and conducts perimeter and interior checks to be sure doors are locked. It recently carried out a safety audit, and has taken steps such as adding full-time security assistants to every elementary school during the current school year.

Scott Gelman

Scott Gelman is a digital editor and writer for WTOP. A South Florida native, Scott graduated from the University of Maryland in 2019. During his time in College Park, he worked for The Diamondback, the school’s student newspaper.

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