Huntsville City Schools Weapon Detection Evolvs

Huntsville City Schools Weapon Detection Evolvs

Carmen Hunderman, Contributor

Imagine walking into school at 8 in the morning and walking through a giant metal contraption and being ushered through when the green light says you can. This is now a reality for students in nearby Huntsville City Schools.

As of January 31, weapon detectors were activated. There were many factors that led to the addition of weapon detectors, but a major one was the numerous gun incidents that happened in the past weeks at Huntsville City Schools. Within just a couple of weeks, not one but three gun incidents occurred in HCS, two at Lee High School and one at Mae Jemison High School. When urged by parents and students for better protocols and response, the HCS Security team decided to install a new weapons detection system called Evolv Technology. 

So what is Evolv, and will it actually keep students safe? Within the FAQs portion of the Evolv website, it is stated that Evolve is not a metal detector but uses advanced sensors and artificial intelligence. It is AI-driven using low frequency, electromagnetic fields and advanced sensors to detect weapons. If a weapon is suspected, then a snapshot is taken of the said student with a box around the area where the suspected weapon may be. The snapshot is then sent to the security guard monitoring the screening, who proceeds to search for the suspected weapon. The system is also easily portable, which is an excellent addition because the weapon detectors will be rotating schools and managed by the HCS Security team. Students walk through the detectors like any other detector but must hold their laptops as they do. The system has been in use ever since winter break at some Huntsville City Schools campuses and sporting events. HCS is the first district in Alabama to install Evolv technology. 

The HCS school district encourages parents to check their kids’ backpacks at home as well. If a student is found with a weapon on campus, they could face major consequences, one of them being expulsion. 

We spoke to some Grissom High School students to see how they felt about this. When asked the question of his opinion on the new weapon detectors, Grissom senior Marcos Vazquez stated, “I think it’s a pretty good idea. So far there have been a lot of kids bringing weapons to school and I think that with the detectors it is going to stop all of that and it will be a better way to keep students safe.” Grissom freshman Yared Vazquez also stated, “I feel like it’s a good way for people to actually do something and a lot of places don’t have that, especially now with school shootings being more common with that I feel like there will be a lot more change.” Grissom sophomore Betsua Jimenez when asked if she felt safer stated, “Half and half, I still feel like students are going to find a way to get guns in schools.” 

When asked if Madison City Schools would ever consider using Evolv technology, Madison City Schools superintendent Dr. Ed Nichols stated, “I can never say absolutely that Madison City would not consider some type of weapons detection program. However, at this time our safety staff have not recommended we add this to our safety plan.” It is reassuring to know that if the need ever arrives MCS will take the correct measures for the safety of the students.

With that being said, even though it is sad that weapon detection systems are needed in the first place, let’s hope safety technology continues to “Evolv” for the sake of student safety.