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After finding guns in schools, Henrico is now testing metal detectors

Posted at 5:34 PM, Feb 13, 2023

HENRICO COUNTY, Va. -- Students at three high schools in Henrico County were greeted with new metal detectors on Monday.

The county is testing the added safety measure and the metal detectors were put into place at Godwin High School, Hermitage High School, and Varina High School.

"We had some delays that kind of offset us about 30 minutes for the day, but all in all, students and staff were very helpful and cooperative," Henrico Schools Chief of Operations Lenny Pritchard said about the test. "Students knew this was eventually coming, but it was still kind of funny to look in their eyes as they came through the doors and to see a greeting of people just greeting them, more so than normal.”

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The metal detectors are part of a revamped school safety plan laid out by Henrico Superintendent Dr. Amy Cashwell following several gun-related incidents at Henrico Schools this school year.

"By mid-February, we will begin a field test of metal detectorsat multiple schools at all levels across the County," she wrote in a January email to Henrico families . "Trained staff will lead students, employees and visitors through free-standing detectors and/or screen them with hand-held metal detecting wands. We will also test new weapon detection technology currently being used at some professional sports stadiums and other venues. The detectors will change arrival procedures, but we are working to minimize delays to the greatest extent possible. Principals at field test schools will share details with impacted staff, students, and families soon."

During Monday's test, students were randomly chosen to pass through the metal detector. On other days, all students must clear security.

Soon, two Henrico middle schools will test weapon detection systems.

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”You are scanning the entire person and their belongings and it has the ability to pick up on higher density metals that are considered a weapon," Pritchard said.

Elementary schools in the county may also test new security measures.

The goal is to complete field tests by early April.

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