INDIANAPOLIS — Most people do not want to consider the possibility of a mass shooting at a school, but school districts have to.
The Perry Township School District is now protecting its high school students with ultra-modern metal detectors.
"We can't turn a blind eye to the violence that happens in our community," said Perry Township associate superintendent Chris Sampson. "It is our task as educators to make sure that violence stays outside the doors."
The district rolled out a weapons detector called Evolv at both Perry Meridian High School and Southport High School near Thanksgiving. The machine will light-up red and send an alert if it detects guns, knives or other harmful objects.
"There's a lot of tension when you bring devices like this into a building," said Perry Meridian High School principal Kert Boedicker. "People are apprehensive because they're asking why instead of looking at it from a positive standpoint and saying this is another measure that's going to make sure our school is safe. We believe in our students that they will do the right thing."
Perry Meridian students tell WRTV they are adjusting well to the metal detector.
"On the first day, I think everyone was a little nervous and unsure of how this could go," said senior Selena Lin. "As we've gotten used to it and done it more and more, it's just become routine."
The students are used to doing active shooter drills. Senior Liz Kile hopes the detector does a good job at stopping the real thing.
"It is a surprise as an immigrant coming into the school and having to do all of these drills," said Kile, who immigrated to Indiana from Uganda in 2016. "Slowly, as we have these devices, I just know that as I come into school and everyone goes through these devices, I'm going to be safe."
The Evolv machine has not caught any students with guns or knives. Sampson said the closest call with a student is when it detected a screwdriver.
However, Sampson said it has caught several concealed firearms on parents entering the building.
"Our intent is not to arrest them," Sampson said. "We just tell them, 'Ma'am, sir, could you return that to your car?'"
Perry Township does not anticipate expanding the Evolv technology to its elementary or middle schools in the near future.