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Spartanburg school district adds walk-through weapons detection

Spartanburg High School

Spartanburg High School. Asia Rollins/staff

Spartanburg School District Seven is adding a weapons detection system in an effort to keep students and staff safer.

The district is phasing in use of the OpenGate walk-through system. Greenville County recently put a similar detection system in place in some schools using a different vendor. Both systems use similar technology and are portable.

During summer school at Spartanburg High School, District Seven tested the system. Spokeswoman Beth Lancaster said the district is trying to gradually get students and staff accustomed to the system.

It allows continuous movement, unlike metal detectors, and is planned at the entrances of the middle schools and high school. There will be one system at elementary schools for entering guests.

“Our students don't have to stop and unpack everything,” Lancaster said. “It really is a win-win because it allows us to preserve the welcoming environment while also making sure that it's as safe as possible.”

For sporting events, a clear tote or plastic storage bag will be required to carry in items. Small clutches, purses and wallets that are less than 4.5 inches long and 6.5 inches wide are allowed. Medically necessary items, diaper bags, seat cushions and blankets will still be allowed.

The new safety measures aren’t a response to a particular incident but instead a way for District Seven to be proactive about safety, Lancaster said.

Over the summer, the district assessed its protocols and added a district safety director position.

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Follow Asia Rollins on Twitter at @asiarollins98.

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