Metal detectors and bookbag searches arrive at Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools


Azriella McClearen

Science staff stands together with their “security” shirts on.

Mallory Hearn, Co-Editor-In-Chief

While many might be familiar with security checks at the airport or when entering a sporting event, most haven’t experienced this when entering school. The WS/FCS school board recently implemented the “Safe Entry District Initiative” which includes random bookbag searching and metal detector walk-throughs to address ongoing concerns at high schools. West encountered its first random screening last week, on April 28.
“When I drove up to school yesterday and saw the metal detectors, I was shocked for sure. Surprisingly though, it went pretty smooth,” junior Grant Tally said.
There were four designated entry locations including the APAC for students who park in the 2nd or 3rd lot, the 700 building for students who park in the 1st lot, the front office for car riders and anyone who arrives after 9:30 a.m. as well as Career Center students and the old auxiliary gym for bus riders and students who park at River Oaks Community Church. Having these four entrances allowed all students to get searched efficiently.
“Nothing was unexpected except the fact we fished at 9:17 a.m. We honestly did not think we would be finished that fast,” Principal Kevin Spainhour said.
West has been the fastest school in the district to get all students through the detectors. Despite having the most students, some believe it took too long and didn’t see the benefit.
“The students were very cooperative and it went good, but it just doesn’t work… central office rolled the detectors in during lunches [the day before], and all the students saw. I think for it to really work it would need to happen every day,” science teacher Karl Koeval said.
While many believe the process is extensive and time-consuming, there are many factors that go into keeping schools safe.
“This is just one layer of many layers in addressing security issues,” Spainhour said.
The money for the metal detectors came from a $322,000 grant from the N.C. Department of Public Instruction’s Center for School Safety that was awarded last year in efforts to make North Carolina schools safer, according to the Winston-Salem Journal.
Once screened, students were given a wristband to be worn throughout the day to indicate they had been screened. On screening days, all keypads to enter buildings will be disabled until 2nd period.
Students can expect more random screening days in the future.