DeKalb County approves new weapons detection systems in schools, stadiums

DeKalb County school officials have approved new measures to protect the area's students and staff.

At Monday's DeKalb County Board of Education meeting, the school district approved funding for more technology to catch weapons before they make it into schools and stadiums.

The new plan involves leasing 11 additional weapon detection systems for $1.6 million.

 "The four high schools are Lakeside High School, Dunwoody High School, Columbia High School, and Chamblee High School. The two additional schools are Wadsworth Magnet and DeKalb Early College Academy. And then we also have the five football stadiums," Joel Thibodeaux, DeKalb County Schools' director of audits and compliance, told the board.

The school district already uses the Evolv Weapons Detection System in 41 middle and high schools. It's the same technology that's used at large event venues like Mercedes-Benz Stadium, the Georgia Aquarium, and Lenox Square Mall.

Officials say since the implementation of the Evolv Weapons Detection System at the start of the 2023 school year, the district has seen a dramatic decrease in the number of weapons confiscated at its schools.

During the 2022 to 2023 school year, 117 weapons, including 24 handguns, were found and confiscated. The next year, only 66 weapons, four being handguns, were confiscated.

DeKalb Schools acting chief of police Larry Wright said that Evolv representatives met with school administrators and security teams to determine the areas with the greatest need for the technology.

The additional systems will be purchased using the Public Safety and Community Violence Reduction Grant.

The board approved the plan five to one.

During the same meeting, the board approved a $400,000 pilot program that would restrict cell phone use on multiple middle and high school campuses.