CLAYTON, N.C. (WNCN) – Summer McLamb is sending her daughter off to kindergarten this year.

“I’m very excited. My child has a huge desire to learn,” McLamb said.

But, before joining Johnston County Public Schools, she was apprehensive.

“We had actually talked about doing private school because of the safety concerns with the world the way it is,” she said.

McLamb was sold on the district after speaking with school administration and learning about their security measures in place like weapon detection systems.

“My son is five and he’s a kindergartner starting this year, so I get it,” said Caitlin Furr, executive director of communications for the district.

For the first time, every school in the district will be equipped with the scanners at each entrance.

“It’s not going to be very slow. People just pass right through them and if there is something that sets it off and we need to just check into things, we can do so,” Furr said.

The system uses artificial intelligence to find weapons without having to empty out pockets or bookbags. The district has portable scanners for school events as well. Similar systems are being used at amusement parks and hospitals like Duke.

Virtual safety

With the increased use of technology, JCPS are not only protecting kids from physical threats but from virtual threats, too.

“It’s 2023. We know that there are new things happening every day. Kids have access to all different kinds of things. We know, there are things online that we should be aware of,” Furr said.

It’s why the district is using a software called Gaggle to monitor students online. It alerts trained district staff to inappropriate images or language on school sponsored devices or platforms.

Gaggle tells CBS 17, of the 42,500 items flagged last year in North Carolina, about a third referenced self-harm while another third referenced violence toward others. About 16 percent items flagged referenced harassment.

“We never want to tell people everything that we have in place but we have a team of people that it’s their sole job to make sure that safety and security is at the forefront of our minds,” said Furr.

For McLamb, each layer of security bring a little more comfort as she sends her child to school.

“It’s a lot of reassurance, knowing that not just my child, but other employees, other staff, other kids are going to be safe this year too,” McLamb said.