School Safety and Crime Prevention
Creating safe educational environments where learning can be enhanced and developed is an ongoing process for both the general public and political authorities. Every instance of violence, substance abuse and intrusion raises new concerns about the need for effective measures to ensure that children, teens, and educators are not endangered by their peers. The Safe and Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act of 1994 was one of the earliest nationwide proposals designed to combat factors such as bullying, theft, violent sexual harassment and weapon and drug possession; and yet, nearly 20 years later the majority of public schools have not invested sufficient resources in security technology such as metal detectors for schools.
In a 1997 survey, the National Center for Educational Statistics reported that around 1% of the participating schools had incorporated daily metal detector checks into their security program. Ten percent of all institutions revealing that at least one violent crime such as rape, murder or assault had occurred on school grounds. A more recent study in 2010 demonstrated a mere 2.8% increase in the number of daily checks. This indicates that an overwhelming majority of public institutions still lack a high degree of security.
Is a Metal Detector Right for Your School?
According to the National School Safety and Security Services metal detectors are not an automatic necessity for most schools. They do not exhibit an ongoing history of weapon-related offenses. However, National School Safety president Ken Trump recognizes metal detection systems to be a valid means of defense when reinforced with consistent supervision and well-maintained regulations.
Before introducing metal detectors into an institution, it is essential to determine how high volumes of incoming traffic will be handled, who will be screened, and when and how frequently detection will occur. There’s also the matter of training security staff to operate detectors and provide regular maintenance to prevent lapses in security. And as many school are on a budget, plans for long-term cost must be considered before making a the initial investment.