Random searches in Lancaster schools keep students safe

LANCASTER COUNTY, SC (WBTV) - Lancaster County School (LCSD) officials say the district's random searches using metal detectors are working.

In October, a student at Andrew Jackson High School brought a loaded gun to school. That arrest prompted school leaders to conduct random searches to keep guns off school property. So far, five searches have been done - and each time no weapons have been found.

"We are going to be very vigilant," LCSD Safety Director Brian Vaughn said, "And it's going to be something we do consistent from this day forward."

Vaugh says it usually takes about two hours to check about 900 students. They either go through the detector, get searched with a wand, or a dog checks their bookbag looking for a weapon. He says no student has refused to be checked and students have not complained.

"I think at the end of the day kids realize that what we are doing it for their best interest," Vaughn said.

Parents embrace the random searches.

"It puts the kids on alert to let them know at any time they can check me - so this isn't a good idea to bring weapons to school," parent Susan Frey said.

The school district is in the process of purchasing four more detectors. These searches are just for high schools, but parents wished they did the searches in middle schools.

"With everything they are exposed to - social media, everything - they are getting younger and younger," Frey said.

School leaders say the next step is to conduct the random searches at after-school events like sporting events and competitions. The goal is to have at least three random searches done every week.

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