© 2023 WFAE
90.7 Charlotte 93.7 Southern Pines 90.3 Hickory 106.1 Laurinburg
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

CMS will add walk-through weapon scanners in middle schools

Instead of distributing the clear book bags it bought, CMS used scanners to flag metal in bags at high schools
Ann Doss Helms
Students walk through an Evolv scanner at Hopewell High.

Students in Charlotte-Mecklenburg's middle and K-8 schools will walk through scanners to check for guns in the coming school year, Interim Superintendent Hugh Hattabaugh said Friday.

The Evolv walk-through scanners were installed in most of the district's high schools this spring. They were ordered after the number of guns found on CMS campuses surged during the first semester of last school year.

Gun incidents slowed during the second semester. But Hattabaugh said in a note posted Friday that four of the second-semester gun incidents were at K-8 and middle schools.

"Guns were the leading cause of death for children and teens in 2020, surpassing injuries from vehicle crashes, drug overdoses or cancer," Hattabaugh wrote. "Only 100 miles away, the shooting of a Greenville, S.C., middle school student is a tragic reminder of this trend."

His note said the timeline has not been determined, and the communications office said the district is not ready to say what the cost will be or where the money will come from.

CMS spent $3.2 million to install the walk-through scanners at 13 large high schools and one small one, according to purchase orders provided by the district. The cost per school depends on how many entrances are covered and whether CMS buys one-or two-lane scanners.

CMS has 47 middle and K-8 schools.

Using walk-through scanners also requires staff and/or volunteers to monitor them while students arrive and to search bags when the scanners indicate there's metal inside.

Ann Doss Helms has covered education in the Charlotte area for over 20 years, first at The Charlotte Observer and then at WFAE. Reach her at ahelms@wfae.org or 704-926-3859.