Q&A – Metal Detectors For High School But Not South Florida Schools

Today’s entry comes in response to the news that there won’t be any credible effort made to bring metal detectors to schools for the upcoming 2019-2020 school year.

Secure the schools the same way we secure all other government buildings! Politicians have tons of security, Courthouses, local and state government offices. Do the same for the schools. We are safer at football or hockey games than our kids are at a school.

Bottom Line: No argument here. On Friday, Broward School Superintendent Robert Runcie made it clear that while other improvements have been made and will continue to improve heading into the upcoming school year, like single point of entry improvements throughout the school district, there wouldn’t be any credible metal detection program in place. It’s a reversal from a year ago when the conversation focused on rolling out a new program at Stoneman Douglas that had then be used as the model for the rest of the school district. This doesn’t make Broward unique. Palm Beach County has discussed metal detectors for years, but it’s not gone anywhere. Miami-Dade has come the closest with the use of random metal detection throughout schools but nothing permanent. The universal argument that’s made is that they're too expensive and not effective enough. But is it?

If you’ve gone to a high school graduation ceremony in South Florida, you’ve likely noticed the difference in security in recent years. Every graduation ceremony requires guests and parents to go through metal detectors. If they’re really too expensive and not effective enough, what changes that dynamic during graduation ceremonies? Clearly, there’s more to the story.

As part of my ongoing research regarding school security, I’ve analytically brought you every angle of the school security debate. As of June 2019, four of the top five school security priorities for both students and parents in the wake of the Stoneman Douglas shooting have been addressed. The only one that hasn’t been. Metal detectors. What’s more, is that at the end of last school year I analyzed all grade school shootings in the US and determined that metal detectors would have been the only way to potentially prevent all of them. I recently did the same for the 2018-2019 school year. Ditto. If we’re serious about school security how/why would we ignore these facts? It’s about the costs then right? 

No one, not even Jeff Bezos, has unlimited money to throw at situations to ensure safety. I’ll accept that if the metal detectors and application of them weren’t truly economically sustainable, we’d have to scrap the idea. Let’s use the ballpark standard. The basic walk-through metal detectors used at sports venues which detect guns, knives, and razors cost about $3,000 each. Actually, with a sale right now, $2,991.Single point of entry, one person monitoring these stations, $3k each. You mean to tell me we wouldn’t be able to find the money to make this happen and have at least one for every state-mandated school resource officer? 

To me, it’s about priorities. In my mind, this should be one. To school districts throughout South Florida, it isn’t.

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Email: brianmudd@iheartmedia.com

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Photo by: Tim Boyle/Getty Images

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