NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Charleston County leaders came together to asses different ways to protect children from potential instances of gun violence in schools. The discussion included methods that are currently in place to protect students, as well as new technology that could be placed in Lowcountry schools.

Local leaders are exploring ways to keep children safe in the classroom.

“It doesn’t take an Einstein to understand the fact that through the months and the years,” state representative Wendell Gilliard said, “we’ve had a rash increase in weapons showing up in our schools.”

Wednesday’s meeting was an opportunity for officials to search for answers to many questions community members have about what is being done to protect students.

“We understand one thing,” Gilliard said, “that it is a red flag all over the state of South Carolina as it pertains to safety in our schools. The question begs: what are we going to do about it? Where are we lacking?”

North Charleston Police say guns in schools have been a major issue, and recent national news like the mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas highlights some of the worst case scenarios.

“We have thirty-plus schools that we’re responsible for,” North Charleston Police deputy chief Ken Hagge said. “And we’re getting firearms out of every school.”

Charleston Police Department, who oversees nearly double the schools of NCPD, says they haven’t had the same problem.

“As far as firearms on campus,” captain Jason Bruder said, “in the 2020-2021 school year, we had one and it was an airsoft gun. This past school year, we had three; two of those were reported stolen.”

Charleston Police say after the Sandy Hook shooting in 2012, they created a school security response team that has proved to be effective.

“They train with our SWAT Team,” Bruder said. “They help teach about active shooters to the rest of the department. They work in rescue task forces with our fire department. So, they’re more focused on mitigating the active shooter-type situations.”

One form of technology that could potentially be placed in Lowcountry schools are metal detectors.

“I’m a proponent for a metal detector,” Hagge said. “Anything we can do. You know, how do you put a price on a child’s life?”