Updated Systems: NAHS Security Checks Evolving With the Times


Samantha Fleming

Staying Safe: Students are excited for the new technology and a more secure NAHS!

The Dubs know the morning drill all too well: hurry off the bus or down the parking deck stairs, take your laptop and binders out of your bag, and make your way to the front of the metal detector line. Since the beginning of the school year, these steps have become a part of every NAHS student’s daily routine. Like many schools nationwide, North Atlanta adopted bag checks as a security measure following increased school violence and shootings. The process has changed a lot this year – from staff hand-checking each backpack to randomly checking students to now every student walking through state-of-the-art metal detectors. However, in 2023, Atlanta Public Schools approved a new metal detector system (similar to those used at the Georgia Aquarium) that revolutionized the bag check process, making it easier for staff to identify contraband.

North Atlanta’s administration has worked tirelessly to ensure that students are safe. Resource Officer Kyle Stephen works in security and monitors students as they make their way through the bag check area. If the detector is triggered, students are directed to a different table to have their bags checked by hand. Stephen praises the new technology and explains that it allows administrators to pinpoint precisely where in the bag to search, compared to the previous security technology, which required entire bags to be searched. 

There are two ways that students enter the school in the mornings – via the bus loop or the carpool area. Junior Kensington Eden is a bus rider and complains about the unpredictability of the bag check system. Despite the seemingly consistent routine of the system, Eden explains that on some days, all bus riders are checked, while on others, only a certain number are checked. She thinks that North Atlanta is too big of a school for such security measures to be consistent long-term. “I think the system is faster,” she said. “But I don’t know if it is more effective.”

The new technology has led to rapid improvements to the system and a less invasive form of bag checks. However, students still find it frustrating to arrive at school earlier and unload most of their belongings before walking through the metal detectors. Junior Cecily Sullivan thinks that the school has the right intentions, but points out the current system’s flaws. For example, many items that trigger the detectors are necessary school supplies, including binders and computers. “It’s a lot to take out every single binder and my computer,” she said. “I am all for keeping NAHS safe, but I can nto get behind the cost of being late to my first period.”

While some of the original complaints about bag checks remain, most students are willing to accept a few extra steps in exchange for more safety and security. Overall, the Dubs are grateful for this updated technology and improved efficiency.