HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — Over the past month, there has been a series of incidents involving students bringing guns on campus in the Huntsville area. Huntsville City Schools has announced the implementation of a new weapons detection system called 'Evolv'.
Now, anyone who enters 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.
"So, the Evolv technology uses advanced sensors and artificial intelligence software to let people walk through with everything they have on them, their keys and phones in their pocket, their bag stays on their back," says Anil Chitkara, Evolv's Co-Founder. "And it's smart enough to understand the types of items going through and differentiates a phone from a firearm."
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.”