Thomson, GA – A student found with a weapon at Thomson High School Friday morning. A spokesperson with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation confirms the weapon was a loaded handgun.
School leaders and law enforcement caught the student with metal detectors before he entered the school.
A brief investigation revealed that 18-year-old Casey Williams came into the school with a loaded handgun.
Officials say, Williams claims there was an altercation Thursday and he brought the gun for self defense.
The situation was resolved quickly thanks to metal detectors at Thomson High School, so we looked into how other CSRA schools could benefit from metal detectors.
“The recording says all of the kids are safe,” said Dan Patel, a parent who received a call from Thomson High School Friday morning saying that a student had been arrested for having a weapon on campus.
Patel says his mind immediately went to his 17-year-old daughter inside the school. “I’m really thankful for the school system that they do have some kind of security system like, such as a metal detector, and the security officers on the campus,” he told us.
McDuffie County School Superintendent Dr. MyChele Rhodes says, not all of the schools in the county use metal detectors, but ensuring student safety is their top priority and they will continue to use them.
Other school superintendents in the CSRA say they’ve tried metal detectors.
Dr. Sandra Carraway says some Columbia County schools have 10 or 15 entrances and exits and funneling 1,800 kids through one door is nearly impossible. “It’s a great concept, but if you’ve ever been through a metal detector, like at the airport, imagine doing that logistically it just isn’t really possible,” she told us.
Dr. Carraway and Richmond County Board of Education Police chief Alfonzo Williams agree that random metal checks is the best way to go. “It’s very tough to do it on a daily basis, but I think the unannounced visits and the vigilant students, staff, and faculty is the best way to go,” Williams told us.
We also looked into Aiken County schools and, while they do not have permanent metal detectors in the entrances, they do work with law enforcement officers. They also do random schoolwide searches.