PRESCOTT, Ark. – A Southwest Arkansas School district makes significant security upgrades less than a year after a high school student was shot in a hallway.
The main entrance to every school in Prescott are now equipped with Entry Shield Weapons detection systems. It’s the first school district in the state to get this technology.
“I feel a huge responsibility to try and make these schools as safe as we can,” said Superintendent Robert Poole.
The system works similar to a metal detector but sends a remote alert only when a weapon is detected. It allows students to pass through with items like cell phones and laptops without triggering an alarm, but the school district does have the ability to change the system’s sensitivity to detect those if needed.
“What we want to try to keep out is weapons,” Poole said.
Poole says the system is designed to allow a seamless flow of students. It’s only when a weapon is detected that he’ll get an alert sent to his phone, along with a picture of whoever set it off.
“We can check it without singling out a student or without singling anyone out, and without drawing attention to anyone,” Poole explained.
Last April a 14-year-old student was injured in what investigators called a premeditated attack. According to the school district another student brought a handgun onto campus and opened fire in a hallway.
“You always think it’s going to happen to someone else’s school until it does happen to you,” Poole said.
Since the shooting, Poole said he’s been working to make significant security upgrades. School buildings are also getting bullet resistant doors and a new intercom system so exterior doors can stay locked.
“It’s to try to make our schools and our kids as safe as we possibly can,” Poole added.
The security upgrades are being funded by a millage that was passed this school year.