WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Screening devices to detect guns and other metal weapons have been delivered to one Wichita Public School.
Back in September, the Wichita school board approved the purchase of the OPENGATE screening devices. Students will walk through them at each entrance at the start of school.
West High School volunteered to be the first school to use the screening devices beginning Friday, Dec. 2.
“Our motto is Pioneers lead the way, so we wanted to go ahead and take that opportunity,” said Mark Jolliffe, West High School principal.
“We’re gonna put these at three entrances. We have three entrances that are open right now at the beginning of school,” said Terri Moses with USD 259.
The system is different from metal detectors. These will detect knives, guns and even explosives. The devices are portable and can be moved throughout the schools for other events as another layer of safety precautions.
“Technology now allows us to set systems where they’re looking specifically for weapons, i.e., firearms, so that students will be able to walk through without taking their phone or keys out of their pocket,” said Moses.
“It’s a great improvement to our schools,” said Israel Cervantes, West High School senior.
Cervantes says he had a weapon pulled on him by another student on school grounds during his freshman year. While no one was injured in the incident, the now-high school senior says this new system has been a long time coming.
“Most definitely, it’s definitely sad to be needed, but it’s a necessary step to be taken,” said Cervantes.
While there are only enough scanners for West High School at this time, the district says it is working to bring this potentially life-saving technology to all of its high schools.
“Every parent wants their child to be in a safe place. This is gonna just allow that extra layer of security that we can offer to our families so that we don’t have an event that’s happened in other places,” said Jolliffe.
The district says supply chain issues will be the main factor behind when we could see those other scanners installed.