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CPS tests potential weapons detection system at Hickman High School


By Julie Koharik

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    COLUMBIA, Missouri (KOMU) — Columbia Public Schools is considering bolstering security with a weapons detection system at its three comprehensive high schools: Hickman, Battle and Rock Bridge.

The Evolv system is a touchless weapons detection system used in schools, stadiums and hospitals.

It’s something Students for Change (SFC) has been pushing for over the last two years. Karli Jones helped create the group of CPS students pushing for more safety precautions.

“I think that really this is just proof that they’re listening to students, which is so important when it comes to school security,” Jones said.

She added that adults and administration often do not see the loopholes in security that students do.

“We hear the things on social media that go around,” Jones said. “They don’t see a student’s day through our eyes, and so that’s really why SFC is a thing, so administration can see those loopholes.”

CPS has not taken any steps to fully implement the system. The demonstration was just a test to see how it would work on a typical school day. The Columbia School Board would need to explore the option further before the system would be placed in schools.

Columbia School Board member Jeanne Snodgrass says there’s still a long road ahead.

“It’s just in this exploratory phase,” Snodgrass said. “It would depend on what’s available probably for budgeting, but those decisions are actually things that we would leave at the administration’s discretion.”

John White, director of safety and security for CPS, said his team is constantly reevaluating safety measures.

“Every single day. Every time there’s a new school shooting, we reevaluate what we’re doing,” White said.

Even though there’s a long road ahead, Jones is hopeful, yet sad that she has to consider the worst.

“I’m 16, I just got my license, and this is the thing I am worried about,” Jones said. “That should not be the case. We shouldn’t be having to do this.”

She says the next step for SFC is pushing for trauma kits in schools and running a mental health outreach campaign.

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