School policy on metal detectors adopted

Published 12:29 pm Friday, April 30, 2021

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A regulation pertaining to weapons on school property was presented April 12 to the Southampton County School Board for a second reading and was unanimously adopted after a small addition to the policy.

Regulation JFCD-R: Weapons on School Property opens as follows:

“The administration possesses the authority to take all reasonable, necessary and proper measures provided by law and School Board policy and regulations to safeguard the students, employees, visitors and property of the school division, including, but not limited to, the use of stationary or mobile metal detectors.

“The purpose of the metal detector scan is to prevent and deter weapons and explosive devices from entering School Board property. For the purposes of this Regulation, ‘School Board property’ is defined as any Southampton County school, including the building and grounds thereof, or that portion of any property open to the public and being exclusively used for school-sponsored functions or extracurricular activities while such functions or activities are taking place.

“At all times, the degree and nature of the inspection shall not to go beyond what is necessary to allow staff to discharge its responsibility.”

During the April 12 meeting, Board Member William Worsham highlighted the second paragraph under the “Procedures” heading in the policy. This paragraph, at that point, read as follows: “The Superintendent, or in the case of a School Board meeting, the Board Chair, shall

approve the use of a metal detector on School Board property.”

Worsham raised the point that there could be a scenario in which Superintendent Dr. Gwendolyn Shannon or Board Chair Dr. Deborah Goodwyn were not present or not readily accessible.

“Couldn’t we give that responsibility to the principal of the school?” he asked.

“So you’re suggesting that we insert ‘or the designee’?” Goodwyn asked.

“Just in case,” he said. “I hope we don’t have to use this, but you never know what is going to happen.”

Goodwyn asked, “Is everybody good with just saying, ‘The superintendent or the superintendent’s designee, or in the case of a school board meeting, the board chair or board chair’s designee, shall approve the use of a metal detector on school (board) property’?”

After the board’s unanimous vote, Goodwyn said the full regulation would be posted on the district website.