48 On Your Side: How the Evolv weapon detection system works within Huntsville City Schools

The system was added after two students brought guns to different Huntsville City Schools campuses
Huntsville City Schools releases statement on ‘weapon detection systems’
Published: Jan. 24, 2023 at 7:39 PM CST|Updated: Jan. 25, 2023 at 6:23 PM CST
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - Nearly a week after two students were found with guns on two different Huntsville City Schools campuses, school representatives announce that they will bring in a new weapons detection system.

They say they will be using Evolv Technology scanners as an added layer of protection against weapons in schools. They made the announcement at their regular board meeting on Jan. 24, less than a week after students were found with guns at Lee High School and Mae Jemison High School.

The ‘advanced weapons detection screening system’ looks like the retail security scanners that are common in big box stores like Target or Wal-Mart, but it includes an AI-enabled touchless security screening solution that spots weapons while ignoring harmless personal items, according to Evolv’s website. It displays a video with a box around a suspected weapon in real-time.

A closer look at Evolv Technology weapon detection systems

The system will be rotating around district schools and managed by members of the HCS Security team.

HCS Board President Carlos Mathews believes Evolv is a great step forward to protect staff and students, but he wants parents to do their part.

“Make sure that when your son or your daughter comes to school that they’re safe and their friends around them are safe as well,” says President Mathews.

On top of the new weapons detection system, Finley says any student who is caught with a weapon on campus will face the highest form of discipline, including expulsion.

Following Tuesday night’s Board of Education meeting the following statement was released:

Huntsville City Schools (HCS) is rolling out Evolv Technology, an advanced weapons detection screening system, as an added layer of campus security to protect students and staff members.

Anyone entering a HCS facility may be subject to weapon detection. Systems will be rotated among locations across the district. HCS has been deploying the systems at various schools and athletic events including the Huntsville City Classic basketball tournament in December.

“We want students, staff members, and families to come to our campuses with peace of mind in order to focus on our core business of teaching and learning,” said HCS Superintendent Christie Finley.

The systems will be managed by members of the HCS Security team. While many traditional metal detectors require each person to be screened individually, the Evolv systems enable a more efficient screening process.

The same weapon detection systems have been implemented at stadiums and event venues across the country. HCS is among the first, if not the first, school district in Alabama to implement this technology.

“Much like how we are used to security protocols at airports, concerts, and sporting events, we are taking the same approach in our schools,” Finley said. “We ask families for their support in this effort as the most effective weapon detection occurs before students ever set foot on campus.”

HCS is asking families to check backpacks before students leave for school every day to ensure they do not have any items that could present potential safety risks. Students who attempt to bring weapons to school will face the highest levels of disciplinary action including expulsion.

“We are grateful for the encouragement we have received from students, families, staff members, and the community about this announcement,” Finley said. “We all share the same goal in keeping everyone safe at school. I continue to believe that having positive relationships, based on a culture of trust, remains at the forefront of what we do as a school system.”


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