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Henry County Board of Education Approves Purchase of Weapons Detection Technology for Large Public Events

HENRY COUNTY, GA – With event security a topic of concern at school districts across the nation, the Henry County Board of Education at a Special Called Meeting on Monday approved the purchase of state-of-the-art weapons detection technology to be used at large high school athletic events.

“Interest in weapons detection technology was one of the key takeaways from last spring’s Community Conversations focused on safety and security. The Board of Education and district leadership believe now is the time to implement this technology at our largest attended events that welcome the community to our campuses,” said Superintendent Mary Elizabeth Davis. “While over recent years we have developed a layered safety and security plan for routine school-day activities, we are now taking a first significant step to layer deterrence at events widely and openly attended by the public.”

The Board of Education on Aug. 28 unanimously approved a $2.1 million purchase of 20 weapons detection systems manufactured by Evolv Technologies.

“Our top priority is the safety and security of our nearly 44,000 students and 6,000 staff,” said Board Chair Annette Edwards (Dist. 2). “Weapons detection technology has become standard practice at large public events, and we believe this purchase aligns with the board’s history of proactive investments in a comprehensive approach to providing supportive, safe, and secure learning environments.”

Following last April’s Community Conversations, weapons detection systems were incorporated at the district’s 10 graduation ceremonies in May at Atlanta Motor Speedway. This advanced technology, coupled with a clear bag requirement, resulted in an unobtrusive, user-friendly, and effective screening process and was subsequently mentioned as part of safety and security updates at board meetings in June and July.

A Request for Information (RFI) posted by the district recently concluded with information that immediate action by the board could result in the most expedient implementation at some of the district’s most well-attended stadium events this fall. Evolv Technologies estimates a four-week time frame from purchase to installation of its devices, each of which weighs approximately 280 pounds and will be stationed at main entrances to all of the district’s 10 high school football stadiums.

The board is continuing the exploration of additional investments in more portable weapons detection technology that could be used at gymnasiums, fields, and other venues for smaller events routinely attended by guests from outside the school community.

About Henry County Schools

Henry County Schools (HCS) is the eighth-largest school district in Georgia, consisting of 52 schools, including two academies, located about 20 minutes south of Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. Over the past 20 years, our community has grown in population from 113,000 residents to over 244,000 residents. Since 1999, student enrollment has grown from 21,000 students to 43,000 students, and our number of employees has grown from 3,000 to 6,000.

HCS is “In Pursuit of Exceptional,” taking action to advance opportunities, access, and outcomes so that every student in our school district has Exceptional Support, Exceptional Access, and an Exceptional Future. In 2020, our Board of Education adopted our 2021-2026 Community-Inspired Strategic Plan and laid out a clear vision and mission for Henry County Schools. Our vision is to ensure a high-quality, world-class education for every student, and our mission is to empower all students with exceptional opportunities and access that lead to success in a global society.