GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – Pitt County Schools’ Board of Education voted unanimously earlier this week to buy 25 OpenGate weapon detectors. The detectors will be implemented in various schools in the district and will be in full force in the fall.
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The added security measure is a $450,000 purchase that was approved by the Board of Commissioners. James Tripp, District 3 Representative, said this was a timely purchase.
“With all the shootings we’ve had in different areas of the country, it’s always important that safety comes first, and this is one thing we wanted to make sure that here in Pitt County with the board and with the county commissioners that safety at the schools come first,” Tripp said.
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Pitt County Schools said two weapon detectors will be active at each of the six high schools in the district, as well as one at each middle and K-8 school.
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“I believe once the community is aware of what we’re trying to do that the community will support what we’re doing and we’re asking parents to get more involved to have these conversations with their children that attend our schools because this is a very serious thing that happens,” added Tripp.
Local leaders are applauding PCS and the Board of Commissioners for the added security measure.
“I can assure you that the town of Farmville supports this action,” said Farmville Mayor John O. Moore. “We have four schools on one campus and any action that we can take to secure the safety of our staff and faculty and students, and parents coming and going, I will support that action.”
“When I send my son off, I expect him to come back home so anything that the school system can do to ensure that, I am all for it,” added Winterville Mayor Ricky Hines.
Joshua Breazeale is the executive director of Parents for Public Schools of Pitt County. He attended the testing process for the detectors a few weeks ago and said the new measure should be a smooth process.
“Students very quickly moved through, even the ones that had to check a bag further, within less than a minute, students were on their way to class,” Breazeale said. “It was a very smooth process to me.”
District officials said the weapon detectors are advanced and programmed to detect weapons with accuracy, as well as mitigate any false alerts.