On Oct. 29, Dunbar will become the second high school in Fayette County using walk-through metal detectors. Starting on Oct. 22, metal detectors will be set up, but not turned on, so that students can walk through as a gradual transition to full implementation.
There will be nine metal detectors in the gym foyer and three in the front foyer. At each detector, students will place their backpacks on a table to be searched prior to walking through. Phones and keys should be placed in backpacks and not taken through the detector.
“It’s just like if you’re going to King’s Island, or if you’re going to a concert, or a collegiate sporting event, or Keeneland, or any place where there are large amounts of people, this is the new normal,” Principal Rains said. “This is just the way we have to do things now. So don’t worry about it, don’t panic, just listen to the announcements and try to prepare.”
On March 26, Fayette County school board voted to approve a change to the district’s search and seizure policy. This cleared the way for the implementation of metal detectors in Fayette County Public Schools.
Frederick Douglass High School had detectors put in place after a student shot himself in the thumb during class in March 2018.
The District School Safety Advisory Council met several times last year to work with community, parents, students, and other stakeholders on making decisions for the district. Superintendent Caulk also held a press conference outlining all of these points of his safety plan.
A panel of 12 high school students representing schools and special programs in Fayette County was assembled to discuss safety from their viewpoint. Dunbar graduate Madison Alexander was a student representative on the advisory board, and she said that she listened first hand to the suggestions and ideas. As a member of the Dunbar Student Voice Team, she also fielded questions directly from her peers.
“The suggestions I was given included metal detectors as the number one choice, with clear backpacks and IDs as the most common requests,” she said.
“It’s good to see that they are implementing some of our suggestions.”
Starting Oct. 22, students will have one week to adjust their travel time, walk through, and prepare their backpacks to be checked. Student drivers and students dropped off will need to arrive at or before 8 a.m.
On Oct. 29, the metal detectors will be fully implemented and students will be required to have their ID to enter Paul Laurence Dunbar High School.