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First weapons detection system installed in Johnston County school, more schools to follow

North Johnston Middle School installed an "opengate" weapon detection system Wednesday.

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By
Brett Knese
, WRAL multimedia jounrnalist
CLAYTON, N.C. — The first weapons detection system was installed Wednesday in a Johnston County school. Soon, other schools in the district will follow.

Johnston County is the latest to install security system upgrades, or consider it, after multiple schools in surrounding counties were locked down after reports of weapons on campus.

North Johnston Middle School's "opengate" weapon detection system is up and running, with more arriving to other schools in the county.

It’s something a lot of parents are on board with, telling WRAL News that at the end of the day, they just want their kids to be safe.

“You don’t want kids to get stuff in that’s not supposed to be in school so I think it will be good," said one Johnston County parent.

The district released photos of the new system on Facebook, showing the systems arriving onto school grounds in large brown boxes.

North Johnston High School will be the next school to receive the new system, but schools like Clayton High School will be right behind it.

Eventually, every school in the county will have the systems.

“Anything that’s going to keep my girls safe, that’s all I care about," said Shawn White, another Johnston County parent.

The Johnston County School System invested $6 million into the technology. The main doors at all the schools will also be equipped with an Evolv weapons detection system, combing radio frequency sensors with artificial intelligence for screening.

On WRAL at 5, WRAL Investigates the local school system installing a new weapon detection system that uses AI and radio waves rather than metal detectors.

Evolv said the new system is much more advanced than metal detectors. The new systems are also portable, so the school system can use it at other entrances.

Now that the systems have been delivered to all 48 schools, installation will happen over the next few weeks.

Officials with Johnston County are working to get the systems up and running and are hoping to have staff at all the schools start training on it by April.

“They’re your world," White said. "Obviously no matter what you want to do, their safety comes number one.”

Officials said their goal is to have staff fully-trained on the systems by the end of the school year, so everything will be full operational by the start of the 2023-2024 school year.

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