Even just a generation ago, schools were a relatively safe place to send children. With reports of school shootings becoming ever more present in today’s society, however, schools have needed to adopt additional security measures in order to increase student safety. One of those safety measures has been the inclusion of metal detectors. There are some advantages to running students through metal detectors and some disadvantages to the practice. Here is a look at the issue in some greater detail.
The Pros of Metal Detectors in Schools
1. It gives administrative personnel the chance to screen out weapons.
Without metal detectors, there’s no effective security sweep in place to proactively prevent a student from carrying a weapon onto school grounds. It’s not just about guns. Knifes and other metal objects can be detected and then removed with a metal detector in place.
2. It is a visual discouragement to violence.
Metal detectors are often staffed by security personnel who are armed. If a student is considering a violent act with a weapon, the mere presence of trained personnel who could stop an attack before it harms intended victims is sometimes enough in itself to prevent violence.
3. It provides a more comfortable learning environment.
Students who are constantly looking over their shoulder to see if someone might be trying to attack them are students that aren’t really engaged in the learning process. Metal detectors can provide a peace of mind that will allow for a more comfortable learning environment to be achieved.
The Cons of Metal Detectors in Schools
1. They create a natural congregation point that is perfect for violence.
Even if someone isn’t planning a violent attack with a weapon, bullies can take advantage of the lines around metal detectors to practice their “art.” Kids are forced to go through the screening process, so they have no alternative but to be there.
2. Not all weapons are detected by metal detectors.
Anything can become a weapon that could be used. Therefore metal detectors are only capable of sensing specific weapons that might be brought to school. Anyone with half a brain will realize this and adapt their strategy, making the screening tool potentially worthless.
3. They can be costly to install and have staffed.
Because security personnel typically staff metal detectors, schools need to pay extra for the staff to man the stations. Then there’s the actual cost of the detectors, which can cost schools thousands of dollars. All of this cash is money that isn’t going into the curriculum or the salaries of the teachers, potentially affecting the quality of the education being received.
Metal detectors in schools have some advantages, but there are some disadvantages that must be considered as well. Do they keep kids safer? Many people believe that they do. By weighing the pros and cons, each school district and parent can determine for themselves if the cost of the equipment is worth it.