Story and Photo by Caroline Harvey, and Alexandria Sessions
After a student brought a gun on campus here, students and adults began to question our safety and ways to improve it. One main safety procedure now being discussed by school administrators, is the installation of metal detectors.
Facilities like DJJ or airport terminals use metal detectors for concealed weapons and/or explosives within deep material. They can even find metal underground.
Metal detectors are necessary because it could protect the students, not in a way where students feel they should be scared or frightened, but in a way to ensure students are safe. The biggest benefit of any metal detector, the hand-held or walk through, is safety.
The metal detectors will notify a bystander when a metal object is crossing its path. There are already some in the library that flash red for a book that has not been checked out properly. Many students enter and exit the library all day and the traffic flow is relaxed and rarely jammed.
That doesn’t necessarily mean it won’t be like that with approximately 1,800 students coming in and out of the building throughout the day.
At several times during the school day, doorways are often crowded and can get backed up. Will the detectors only be able to be a few feet wide, or will they be able to span the full doorway so that multiple people can move through.
Metal detectors could also pose a threat to a person’s privacy. The students need to be assured that the metal detectors will only detect larger metal objects, such as a firearms or explosives.
Privacy could also be an issue for students and parents concerning the mesh and clear book bags. If valuables are kept in a student’s clear bag, someone could easily see where it’s located in the bag and take it; objects within the bag could get damaged on rainy days, had the students been using mesh book bags.
Another concern are the image it gives the school. The Dutch Fork community has a good reputation so when metal detectors are added, it gives the impression that Dutch Fork is an unsafe school.
The community needs to realize that being prepared and safe is better than not being ready for an incident that could potentially be disastrous.