The Owensboro Public Schools district is looking into installing a weapons detection system at their middle and high schools. The Board of Education will discuss the issue Thursday during their luncheon.
On Monday, a juvenile was arrested after being found with a loaded handgun and knife on the Owensboro Middle School campus.
There are still some questions surrounding if the juvenile was inside a building or outside, and if they were on campus all day with the weapon. Owensboro Times has asked both OPS and the Owensboro Police Department but both declined to provide those details at this time. But the juvenile was quickly arrested, and an OPS official previously said the district is not aware of any threat made toward the school or toward any person during the incident.
Superintendent Dr. Matthew Constant said district officials have been researching the idea of a weapons detection system for a few months and were planning to have formal discussions later this month. Those discussions were added to Thursday’s agenda following the OMS incident.
Constant declined to identify the vendor because the board has not officially approved one yet. However, he did provide some insight into how the system would work.
Constant said the system is different from a metal detector in that it is designed and programmed “to detect particular densities of substances and would detect weapons.”
He added that the programming and technology is such that people do not have to stop for any reason — such as emptying pockets or for a bag search — as they walk through.
“The system is designed for multiple people to travel through as normal,” he said, meaning students, faculty, and guests would walk through without having to stop for a bag search or to place any items in a bucket. “Optimal use will likely be a single file line which is easily managed at both our bus and car rider/driver entrances.”
Constant said if the board moves forward with the purchase, the plan would be to install the system at Owensboro Middle School, the Innovation campus (both the middle and high school), Owensboro High School, and Emerson Academy.
The systems are mobile and can be used inside or outside. Constant said for day-to-day use, they’d be inside the buildings. The district could also use them at venues where events are held outside.
The board luncheon is being held at 11 a.m. at OMS.
Constant said if the board approved the system, they would purchase it “very soon” but have no timeline for receipt or installation.