Mansfield ISD using artificial intelligence as new level of security against school threats

MANSFIELD ( — There is a new level of security in place at Mansfield high schools now—and it’s not just an updated metal detector.

The district is using artificial intelligence to detect real world threats.

“Things have happened around Texas and it’s becoming a bigger concern,” says Mansfield High Junior Makaria Walker. “With this system, I don’t really have to worry about that.”

It is called “Evolv Express,” and it’s the latest high-tech evolution in the quest to make public spaces—including schools—safer by detecting weapons at the door.

“All you do is hand in your Chromebook and walk right through,” explains Walker. “And I know they’re not gonna, like, flag me for my water bottle because its metal.”

Driven by artificial intelligence to detect “properties found in weapons,” MISD staffers say the system is more efficient and less invasive.

“With metal detectors, it takes a lot of time, a lot of manpower to search through everything metal that’s on a person,” explains Britney Fortner, the district’s director of safety and security. “It’s looking for those specific concerns, and it’s identifying the location of where we need to search, so students can keep walking through if they don’t have anything of concern on them.”

Parents and teachers say the system creates a greater sense of safety on the campus.

“It’s a bit of a deterrent,” adds Mandy Gent, a Mansfield High School teacher. “Because they never know if it’s going to be their lucky day.”

The system is costly—roughly $800,000 a year for 20 units. The district has also added security staff needed to monitor the system during school hours.

“What I can say is that we are going to continue to look into what’s out there,” Fortner says. “What’s best at this time and what can we add to our overall campus safety plan to keep our campuses as safe as possible.”