Are Security Metal Detectors in Schools Effective in Keeping Kids Safe?

school-metal-detectorIn 2007, roughly 10 percent of students between the ages of 12 to 18 reported their school uses metal detectors, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.  School districts across the United States continue to explore their options when it comes to taking safety measures in keeping children safe.  While many parents and educators are open to having metal detectors at schools, state and federal lawmakers continue to remind the general public about potential drawbacks and ongoing challenges when proposing such security measures be taken.

Metal Detectors May Be Limited in What They Can Detect in Schools

Metal detectors that have been used in schools have been able to accurately detect various types of firearms and knifes, according to the National Institute for Justice.  While this can be a positive thought, you have to think about backpacks, purses, and other similar types of items students and faculty carry at school campuses on a regular basis.  Such items have been known to set off the alarm quite easily even if there are no illegal weapons present.  Plus, some school districts would need to accommodate additional space for walk-through metal detectors.  In order for such devices to work efficiently and successfully, those operating them would need to be trained properly.

How Would Such an Investment Be Paid For?

One of the top reasons why metal detectors are not in most schools is due to costs.  One device alone could run thousands of dollars.  Plus, more personnel staff would need to be hired to train, supervise, and operate the devices. That being said, is cost really a concern if it can save lives?  This aspect would be the case if metal detectors were walk-through models or hand-held devices which cost less.  Many school districts are operating on a deficit or trying to get more tax revenue to cover other needed costs.  Parents, students, educators and lawmakers may all agree such devices may make a difference, but we can’t agree how to pay for them.

Metal Detectors Alone Will Not Stop School Violence

While such devices may not be enough to reduce the fear among faculty and students, it may be a good starting point.  Aside from investing in metal detectors, school violence prevention programs can help raise awareness while develop solutions to help students and faculty members feel safe.  Even though metal detectors have been effective, there have been reports of schools with the device having students bring a weapon into the building undetected.