MADISON COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) — This week, the Madison County School System (MCSS) has been training campus administrators on its new weapons detection system.
The administrators were engaged in training for the new system on Wednesday and Thursday, which included testing the system during arrival at Hazel Green High School on Thursday morning.
MCSS says the system they’ve opted to use is the OpenGate System, which consists of two freestanding pillars that screen people with bags, backpacks and purses and the design detects metal objects that match pre-programmed characteristics. Employees designated to supervise the system are being trained to operate it.
“In the coming days, MCSS will install these detection systems on every campus. This enhancement is fully funded by a Safe Schools Grant issued by the Alabama State Department of Education. As we roll it out, we want to share with you the perks of the OpenGate system and how it will work,” MCS Superintendent Ken Kubik said in a statement to parents.
The OpenGate systems are mobile and can move around campus, MCSS says. It’ll be used to check students as they enter the building during morning drop-off and then be transported for use at additional entrances on campus.
According to Kubik, as people enter the school buildings, they will enter a lane to walk through the detection system as administrators supervise each entry point. An alarm will sound if the system detects something abnormal.
“The person entering will then be asked to place any bags, backpacks, or boxes on a nearby table and return to the scanner. Personnel will check the item left on the table if the person successfully passes through the system,” Kubik said. “If, for some reason, the person being scanned fails to go through successfully a second time, a campus administrator, at their discretion, can check them with a portable scanning unit. This will be done in a location that is discreet and out of view of other students.”
The system will also be used at campus events where the general public may attend including sporting events, parent nights, and other extra-curricular activities.
“These detection systems represent an additional layer of protection for the students and staff of MCSS. We want to assure you that we are doing everything within our means to safeguard those entrusted to us. We acknowledge that there may be initial challenges with the introduction of this system, but we remain committed to our mission of safety. We sincerely appreciate your patience and understanding in advance,” Kubik added.