Is it time, following Monday’s gun scare at Madison High School, to install metal detectors at area high schools?
1200 WOAI news reports both school administrators and teachers have problems with that idea.
“We have had mall shooting, grocery store shooting, movie theater shootings,” said Louis Malfaro of the Texas Chapter of the American Federation of Teachers. “Should we install metal detectors at all those places?”
Malfaro points out that many modern urban high schools today consist of several buildings, and requiring students and teachers to empty their pockets and go through metal detectors whenever they go from ‘Building A’ to ‘Building B’ on campus would have excessively time consuming. He says most urban campuses have remote areas near sports fields where a student who was determined to bring a gun onto campus could get a weapon through the chain link fences which surround most campuses.
Jennifer Canaday with the Association of Texas Professional Educators agrees. She says the real problem is not that there isn’t enough security, it’s that many schools are not addressing the underlying problem of violence.
“There are troubled kids who have mental health issues, and problems are either going undetected or untreated,” she said.
Malfaro agreed. He says many schools have emergency plans that they put in place whenever a threat exists. He says the fact that parents, teachers, ISD police, and administrators detected the potential threat at Madison and Monday and defused it shows that well-thought-out procedures work better than security.
He says the costs of people to staff the metal detectors and wand down students and teachers who set off the alarm is money that would be better spent on the counselors that Canaday mentioned.
“You can’t expect teachers to also act as counselors,” she said. “That is not what they are employed to do.”
Both professionals blasted the idea of allowing teachers to bring guns on campus, which has been suggested by pro gun groups in the wake of the Madison incident.
A newly passed state law allows schools without police forces to designate an employee as an armed school marshal, but that mainly applies to small, rural schools.