Hartford Public Schools to use metal detectors for the first time – GNT NEWS

Now when you walk into a school in Hartford, you might notice something you haven’t seen before: metal detectors.

This is the first time Hartford Public Schools has ever used them.

The district ordered six metal detectors, which will be moved and used in different schools whenever there is a security threat.

The decision comes after a firearm was brought into Weaver High School earlier this month. County administrators say that’s a situation they hope the metal detectors will prevent in the future.

“Students reported that there would potentially be conflict between students,” said Dr. Hartford Public Schools Superintendent Leslie Torres-Rodriguez about the Oct. 7 incident at Weaver.

Two firearms that were brought into Weaver High School put students on lockdown for hours.

“I was like, ‘guys, just try to stay calm!'” said one student that day.

Authorities found a third firearm during a sweep the following Saturday. Multiple students connected to the incident have been suspended and may be expelled.

At Tuesday Board of Education Torres-Rodriguez announced that the school district has purchased six metal detectors.

“The purpose of using metal detectors is to make sure that weapons don’t actually make it into the school,” Edward Wilson, HPS’ executive director of internal investigations and security, told GNT NEWS.

The new metal detectors will be delivered in the last week of October and deployed when there are threats to schools, sporting events or social media threats.

“This is a rotating base,” Wilson said. “Hopefully we don’t have a situation where we have to use all six at the same time.”

The equipment will primarily be used in secondary schools, but it could occasionally be installed in secondary schools as well if the situation warrants it.

Wilson said the metal detectors are just one part of a larger security infrastructure that includes cameras, training, more than 100 school security officers and a partnership with Hartford police.

“Our community partnerships, our security checks of our buildings, active staff trainings,” Wilson said.

Torres-Rodrigues said metal detectors can also help streamline security measures. For example, loitering is already done in Hartford schools when there are safety concerns, but the superintendent said it caused a problem.

“It caused a significant learning delay for them to get to their class,” she said.

Torres-Rodrigues said metal detectors can speed up that process, but also reduce the need to move security officers around whenever there is a threat.

“We borrow security officers from other schools while school is in the morning,” Torres-Rodriguez said. “So that’s another way for us to take advantage of the use of metal detectors, because it provides an efficient way to get students into our classrooms in a safe way.”

Philip Rigueur, president of the Hartford Board of Education, is behind the decision, which he said was made after research and community input.

“We’ve heard from several of our students, the superintendent, as well as parents who have told me that they really want metal detectors,” Rigeur said. “For the most part, I think the kids would feel safe.”

The cost is absorbed from the district’s $1.1 million safety budget.

“I’ve heard from students who say, ‘metal detectors, thank you,’ when loitering happens, when I’m there sometimes,” Torres-Rodriguez said. “It’s a safeguard that’s part of a more holistic, comprehensive response.”

The school district sent a letter to parents and the school community Wednesday night to inform them of the new use of metal detectors.

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