AIKEN, S.C. (WJBF)- On August 15, the Aiken County school board met during a special called meeting to discuss increasing security in schools following a huge fight at Aiken High School the first week of school.

Parents received the following email outlining the districts plans.

Aiken County’s Board of Education held a special called meeting Tuesday, August 15, to review options for strengthening security measures at Aiken High following altercations which occurred on campus August 3.

Trustees met in Executive Session on August 15 as District Officials detailed options for increased security, shared updates and considerations from meetings held with law enforcement, and discussed specific safety protocols and procedures.

Students at Aiken High School, as well as middle and high schools throughout the county, can expect regular deployment of weapons detection units. The units are also being deployed at elementary schools primarily to screen visitors upon entry. Weapons Detection at middle and high schools will be unannounced and may take place at an entrance, during a class change, class period, or other location within the school. The consequences for bringing contraband, a weapon, or item that resembles a weapon on a school campus are significant. Students are strongly encouraged to review the Student Code of Conduct and expectations for maintaining safe and secure learning environments.

In preparation for more frequent Weapons Detection, middle and high school students are asked to refrain from bringing in stainless steel water bottles, metal utensils from home, and scissors. Large metal objects result in positive detection and necessitate a search. As secondary students return from Fall Break in mid-October for second quarter, the restriction of these items will be mandatory. Alternatives to notebooks with metal binders are being explored as well. The Board and Administration will continue to monitor and may consider additional restrictions in the future, if necessary.

Additional safeguards that will be in place at Aiken High School include the presence of an additional School Resource Officer on campus each day. Additional fencing will be added to secure the perimeter of the campus and eliminate entry and exit by way of classroom wings. Partnerships are also being explored to further educate students on dangerous activities while encouraging positive engagement through faith- and/or community-based supports.

To increase staff-to-student ratios in common spaces, Aiken High School created a third lunch period and reassigned students in smaller numbers to the cafeteria.In addition to increasing supervision in the cafeteria, school administration is consulting with behavior modification professionals to audit our deployment of security resources and make recommendations.

With the start of the fall athletic season, please be reminded of our District-wide clear bag policy for athletic events. Small clutch purses and seat cushions 16” or smaller are also permitted inside our athletic facilities. All persons and belongings are subject to search. Reentry will not be allowed. Should an individual exit an athletic event for any reason and wish to return, a new ticket will be required for reentry. Additional details are available on our District website under the “Announcements.”

Please also remember that athletics are school-sponsored events and expectations for safety and security, as well as the Student Code of Conduct apply.

All students attending a school-sponsored event who are eighth grade and below must be accompanied by an adult 21 years of age or older and must remain with a supervising adult throughout the entirety of their time at an event. High school student attendees must present a school or government ID or be prepared to show their PowerSchool information on their phone for entry without a supervising adult.

We recognize that some of these precautionary measures are inconvenient. We thank you for your understanding and cooperation with these procedures aimed to ensure the safety of all who enter our campuses.”