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Pilot Program for Weapons Detection Systems

Two men standing in front a three tv screens.

South Salem High School has been selected to pilot weapons detection systems as an added layer of safety and security across SKPS secondary schools. 

In Salem-Keizer, the safety of all people in our school communities is without question our top priority. This is why we are always working to review, research, evaluate and implement additional strategies to support the safety and security of our schools through the expertise of our team in Safety and Risk Management and collaboration with other key experts across multiple safety disciplines. 

Nationally Recognized and Robust Safety and Security Systems 

Salem-Keizer Public Schools is known across the country for its strong and exemplary safety and security systems including comprehensive threat assessment and multiple strategic layers that support physical and psychological safety. 

Evaluating Weapons Detection Systems

In the spring, we announced that the district has been researching and evaluating the use of weapon detection systems as an added layer of security for our middle and high school buildings. 

The use of these systems, or any system within our schools is not a decision we take lightly. This is why for the past year, we have focused on reviewing as much available research as we can. This has included visiting other districts with these systems in place to gain a better sense of the physical and psychological impact of their use. It is important to us that students are safe and that they feel safe and welcome coming to school every day.

In March, we held a community demonstration event for our families, students and staff across the district to see these systems in person, ask questions and gain a clearer picture of what these could look like. Now, we are moving into the next phase to allow us to thoroughly evaluate the use of these systems, specifically here in our Salem-Keizer schools with real feedback from our students and staff. 

Pilot Program at South Salem High School

In late May, we will begin a pilot of weapon detection systems as an added layer of safety and security. It is important that this pilot be designed to provide thorough, timely and authentic feedback from our students and staff. 

South Salem High School has been selected as the host location for the initial pilot of the weapon detection systems. South Salem was selected as the pilot site location in part due to the size of the student population, the complexity of the school’s design and the number of entry and exit points. Reviewing these systems as an added layer of safety at a large campus like South provides a well-rounded lens for our teams to evaluate its potential use not only at south, but for other campuses in our district. 

Pilot Program Feedback

This pilot will include intentional and ongoing engagement with our South Salem school community about how this additional layer impacts both physical and psychological safety, as well as operational impacts within the school. Our goal is to hear directly from those interacting with these systems throughout this pilot to receive candid, authentic and informative feedback. All feedback will be limited to those directly interacting with the pilot program. 

Funding

The cost of weapons detection systems, if implemented, would come from a restricted fund that cannot be used for other purposes such as staffing or classroom materials.