Central students met with handheld metal detectors


CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) – It was a long line to get inside Central High School Tuesday after changes were made to security. The Champaign School District has said several times, it’s looking at its safety and security closely.

That intensified after 17-year-old Jonathan McPherson was shot and killed outside of a school Thursday. He was a senior at Centennial High School.

It’s not a permanent fix, but that’s something some parents and teachers want. It took a little longer for students to get in the door this morning. Each one was being searched with a metal detector wand.

It’s the second time a Champaign High School has seen metal detectors this year. They were used at Centennial a few weeks ago.

The district said it’s using them randomly. As violence continues in the district and among students.

One parent said she worries every day that her daughter won’t make it home safely. She said she thinks the extra steps are important.

“I am very happy that they have that, but I really wish they would have real metal detectors and possibly clear book bags, like I grew up with in the city,” Amber Gillespie, a parent, said. “So, I feel safer knowing my child is being protected, at least with the ones with the wands.”

She said she has talked to the school about the safety of the students and what they’re doing to help. She said she’s even kept her child at home on days when there have been threats.

The district said they sent a letter to parents on September 24th. The letter specifically said metal detectors will be used in schools on random days to reinforce safety, and will be used at sporting events to prevent weapons from being brought in.

On Friday, superintendent Shelia Boozer said they are having conversations about making metal detectors permanent. She said they are not opposed to it. They just want to make sure they do it correctly.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.