A new survey shows widespread support for the installation of metal detectors within Alexandria City Public Schools.
There were 4,374 respondents to the survey, which ACPS opened on Feb. 24 and closed on March 8. Included in the survey were 1,181 students, 609 staff, 2,295 family/guardians, and 289 community members. About 85% of survey respondents supported using weapons screening equipment in all or some schools, and 58% of respondents want the metal detectors in every school.
The news comes as the Alexandria School Board on Thursday (March 16) will give final consideration to a pilot program to install metal detectors at the city’s middle schools and high school. If approved, the “advanced weapons abatement technology” will be installed next month in both Alexandria City High School campuses and at the city’s middle schools. The program would go live in May, before the end of the school year.
About 80% of respondents said they wanted the metal detectors to make the school system safer, and 72% reported that weapons entering schools are a significant concern/problem. About 65% of respondents also said that metal detectors crate a less anxious environment, and 49% said that the metal detectors are a much needed security upgrade for the school system. A majority of those against the proposal (59%) responded that the metal detectors detract from a welcoming feeling within schools, 32% were concerned with the cost of the equipment, 20% said weapons are not a significant problem, and 19% said that the current safety protocols are adequate.
There were 15 weapons-related incidents in the first two quarters of the 2022-2023 school year, and weapons seized include knives, brass knuckles, stun guns/tasers, a BB gun and pepper spray, according to a school safety report. ACPS began the school year last August with new security upgrades, like the installation of door alarms, upgraded security cameras, a new student ID process and a new visitor and emergency management system.
It costs $60,000 for every affixed metal detector, and $13,000 for mobile detectors, the latter of which would be used for outdoor athletic events and as-needed. The devices use artificial intelligence to detect weapons, while students, staff and guests can freely walk through them without emptying their pockets or bookbags in a lone line.
ACPS will need at least four units for Alexandria City High School’s King Street campus alone, and up to three units at the Minnie Howard campus, Alicia Hart, the ACPS chief of facilities and operations, told the Board last month. It was not clear how many will be needed for the city’s two middle school campuses.
The survey results are below.
- 44% (519 students) want the metal detectors in all schools
- 29% (337 students) only want metal detectors at the middle schools and high school
- 28% (325 students) want no metal detectors
- 58% (356 staff members) want the metal detectors in all schools
- 33% (198 staff members) only want metal detectors at the middle schools and high school
- 9% (55 staff members) want no metal detectors
- 65% (1,484 family members/guardians) want the metal detectors in all schools
- 25% (577 family members/guardians) only want metal detectors at the middle schools and high school
- 10% (234 family members/guardians) want no metal detectors
- 63% (182 community members) want the metal detectors in all schools
- 20% (59 community members) only want metal detectors at the middle schools and high school
- 17% (48 community members) want no metal detectors
An Alexandria man is being held without bond for an alleged carjacking in the West End on Saturday night (Feb. 18).
At around 8 p.m, the 32-year-old male victim was allegedly held at gunpoint and carjacked in the 300 block of N. Ripley Street in the West End. Police were dispatched to a fight outside of an apartment complex, and were advised that the suspect had a firearm.
Anthony Jermainte Harris, 36, was arrested at the scene and charged with was charged with robbery, weapon possession by a felon, illegal discharge of a weapon, carjacking and attempted abduction.
No one was injured in the incident, and a firearm was allegedly found on Harris when he was arrested.
Harris goes to court on April 14.
Map via Google Maps
No one was injured after a man with a knife robbed another man of cash in the West End on Dec. 22, according to the Alexandria Police Department.
The incident occurred at around 10 p.m. around apartment complexes in the 5700 block of Merton Court. The area is near the intersection with N. Beauregard Street and the Winker Botanical Preserve.
No arrests have been made in connection to the incident, and police did not provide a suspect description.
Anyone with information on this incident is asked to call the Alexandria Police Department non-emergency number at 703-746-4444. Callers can remain anonymous.
Map via Google Maps
An Alexandria woman was charged Halloween morning with driving an unlicensed vehicle in Alexandria, and for being a felon in possession of a stun gun, according to police and court records.
The 61-year-old woman was pulled over at around 12:30 a.m. at the intersection of N. Patrick and Prince Streets.
The vehicle was found to be non-licensed and running with altered/forged license plates.
The driver was arrested after police found her in possession of a stun gun, and was charged with weapons possession by a felon, driving a vehicle with altered/forged plates and evasion of a traffic control device.
The driver was released on a summons and goes to court on Nov. 12.