CPSB to install weapons detectors at high schools

Published: Jul. 13, 2023 at 5:59 PM CDT
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LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - Calcasieu Parish schools were awarded a grant for weapons detectors.

It’s a sad reality – schools across the country feel it necessary to step up their security protocols.

The Calcasieu Parish School Board is doing the same with its newly awarded grant from the Louisiana Department of Education’s Stronger Connections Program. The LDOE invested over $20 million in 39 schools across the state to increase school safety.

“High-end weapons detectors are very technologically advanced, so it’s more suited for high frequency or high number of volume of students or fans,” superintendent Shannon LaFargue said. “A lot of people may have seen the type of weapons detectors that were looking at called ‘open gate’ at stadiums.”

LaFargue said the $518,355 grant will cover the cost for each high school in the district to have these detectors set up at two entrances.

“We want our students to be able to learn in an environment that’s conducive to learning,” he said. “We want our faculty to deliver highly effective instruction in an environment where they feel safe and comfortable. And then when the parents drop their kids off at school, we want them to drive away feeling safe and comfortable that their kid is protected to the greatest extent possible.”

He said in the wake of school gun violence, it’s important to make sure there are multiple layers of security.

“With the school tragedies and the heightened sensitivity with harm that could come our students’ and children’s way, we really facilitated and accelerated our approach to hardening our schools,” LaFargue said.

He said CPSB has other safety enhancements in the works too.

“At the start of school this year or close to the start of school, we hope to have every single school site with a student population with armed security,” LaFargue said.

The school board has a designated security team made up of Calcasieu Parish sheriff’s deputies and school personnel. They meet once a week to discuss and maintain safety within the schools.

As for the weapons detectors, they are expected to be installed at the 10 high school campuses this fall.