A.C. Flora metal detectors installed on the heels of student’s arrests

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Published: Oct. 20, 2022 at 8:21 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - Metal detectors are now up and running at another Richland One school – A.C. Flora High. The installation comes on the heels of another student within Richland one arrested for bringing a gun to school.

Superintendent Dr. Craig Witherspoon was hoping the metal detectors would deter students from bringing guns onto school campuses but that has not been the case lately.

“I feel like they’re very needed,” said A.C. Flora High School parent Melvin Sims.

That’s how most parents feel about metal detectors following a string of student arrests for bringing guns on campus.

Sims says, “All high schools should have them, all schools in general.”

But a top priority for Richland One was having the devices installed in high schools.

Superintendent Dr. Craig Witherspoon says, “Unfortunately you tend to see more of those weapons and things that you shouldn’t have sometimes in our secondary schools.”

And that’s been the case so far. Tuesday a student from Keenan High School was arrested for bringing a loaded gun on campus. The week prior to that two other students from two different high schools, Columbia and EAU Claire were both charged with having weapons on those campuses.

“Well, it’s a tool that can be used from a determent standpoint and as you’ve indicated a tool that can be used from an actual standpoint. Students may have some things on their person that they should not have.”

Dr. Witherspoon tells WIS that 30 to 35 metal detectors were purchased ahead of the current school year but the district didn’t receive them until early September. Those detectors cost anywhere from 7 to 10 thousand dollars a piece.

“There were from our understanding a lot of demand across the country for those weapon detectors,” he said.

Metal detectors have been distributed to all eight Richland One high schools but district leaders are still trying to work out how the detectors will be installed in each school.

“We have schools of different configurations and different styles and all of those variables would kind of determine how you would look at that from a permanent installation or a permanent use on a daily basis,” said Dr. Witherspoon.

Dr. Witherspoon tells WIS, phase two will consist of installing the detectors at the middle schools in the district but district leaders are still trying to map out where the funds for those devices will come from.

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