Review: metal detectors in Greenville County schools not practical

School Security Studied

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The installation of metal detectors in all Greenville County schools is neither warranted nor practical and would likely cause more problems than they would solve, according to a review of the district’s security and emergency response plans.

The review came after a May 13 shooting at Southside High. A 16-year-old was arrested after Greenville County Sheriff’s Office investigators said he brought a loaded gun into the cafeteria and it unintentionally fired, hitting him in the stomach. Three other students were arrested in connection with the incident.

Retired Federal Bureau of Investigation special agent Mike McComas, who has been contracted by the federal government to conduct security and anti-terrorism training internationally, led the review. Representatives of the seven Greenville County law enforcement agencies participated in the review.

Zoned patrols established after the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary shooting in Newtown, Conn., that left 20 students and six staff members dead are more appropriate than having school resource officers in each elementary school, the review found.

The review recommended substitute teachers receive additional training in emergency procedures and that 10 first responders in each school take and become certified in a National Emergency Management course.

The review recommended all middle school students be shown a version of an active shooter video already being shown to high school students.

In addition, the review group concurred that background checks should be conducted on chaperones immediately prior to a field trip. In May, a parent on the sex offender registry participated in a Woodland Elementary fifth-grade field trip to Charleston. While the buses were en route, the school received a phone tip about the chaperone. The parent was removed from the trip. An investigation showed that Woodland personnel failed to follow district protocols that required background checks immediately prior to field trips. The school used clearance it received in September.

Other minor changes were recommended by the group and were adopted into the school district emergency plan. Those changes are not being made public.

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