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Metal Detectors in Schools (Pros and Cons)

Dianna is a writer with a background in education and business. She writes to inspire and encourage others.


Present View on School Safety Measures

Recently I spoke with parents on the growing concern over school safety measures in their children's schools. Although the increase of school violence and shootings prompts them to voice a strong opinion, the argument for and against metal detectors dominates the conversations.

A current poll of approximately 85 parents shows that 87% favored metal detectors in schools. Reasons in favor of it were based upon safety of children, and a strong deterrent of weapons in school. Those against installation (13%) stated the use of metal detectors created a hostile learning environment, distrust among students and educators, and the cost would increase school taxes. Overall, most parents vote in favor of metal detectors in public schools because it gives parents and children a sense of security at school. Parents believe that children do not function well when they believe the learning environment is unsafe. The emotional and social well being of a child affects the intellectual thinking process.

Ken Trump, President of National School Safety and Security Services, cautions parents and schools against reacting too quickly, thus making decisions that may impact a school drastically through cost and school image. The expense of hiring and training personnel must be considered and the perception of a prison-type learning environment must be avoided. As of March 2019, the views from the National School and Safety Security Services have not changed: "They may serve as a risk-reduction tool, when properly deployed, but like any other single strategy cannot offer the ‘guarantee’ that some perceive them to provide. We simply need to implement and sustain the best practices consistently and in a balanced, comprehensive approach over time."

The National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) states schools must not over-emphasize extreme physical security measures as it may undermine the learning environment while not necessarily safeguarding students. They also report there is no clear evidence the use of metal detectors, security cameras, and guards in schools prevent school violence, and that the research is insufficient in determining if metal detectors reduce the risk of violent behavior among students.

On School Safety Measures

"They may serve as a risk-reduction tool, when properly deployed, but like any other single strategy cannot offer the ‘guarantee’ that some perceive them to provide. We simply need to implement and sustain the best practices consistently and in a balanced, comprehensive approach over time."

— Ken Trump, President National School Safety and Security Services

Current Public School Security Statistics

Current Public School Security Statistics

Statistics on School Security Measures and School Violence

Statistical DataSource

In 2009, 68% of students ages 12- 18 report the presence of security guards in school; 70% report the use of security cameras; 11% report the use of metal detectors.

NASP (2013, January 9)

In the 2009-10 school year, 61% of public schools reported using one or more security cameras to monitor students (up from 19% in 1999-2000).

NASP (2013, Januuary 9)

Of all youth homocides, less than 2% occur at school, this percentage has been stable over the past decade.

National Center for Injury Prevention and Control

17 homocides of school-age youth ages 5 to 18 years occurred at school during the 2009-2010 school year.

National Center for Injury Prevention and Control

26% of black students report passing through metal detectors compared to 5.4% of white students. Nationwide, predominately black inner schools place a higher premium on security than rural and suburban schools.

Ivory Toldson, PH.D, Journal of Negro Education, Nov. 30, 2012

In 2009 -2010, one-third of public schools (23,200 total) used armed guards as safety measures. The cost to arm the other two-thirds is estimated at $2.5 million.

J. Halford, "Policies for Caring and Achievement", M.ASCD.org

2014-2015: News reported 812 school shootings and bomb threats targeting preK-12 schools. Threats were up 158% from prior school year.

National School Safety and Security Services, March 2016

National Internal Security: School Administration and Staff

National Internal Security: School Administration and Staff

Alternative Security Measures

I remember locker checks being the most intrusive search method during my high school years. Today, students not only have random locker checks but must endure security guard and assigned police officer searches. Occasionally, a canine unit is brought in for other reasons, such as drug checks.

Other security measures include:

  • Locked entrance and exists during school hours
  • School staff or adult supervision in hallways
  • Safety shelters in classrooms
  • Student ID cards
  • Security Cameras
  • Enforcement of Code of conduct policy
  • Arm teachers with guns

Pros and Cons of School Metal Detectors

The Fourth Amendment: Search and Seizure

New Jersey State Supreme Court ruling states a simple reasonable standard governs all searches of students' persons and effects by school authorities (includes use of metal detectors). The search must be reasonable at its inception and there must be reasonable grounds for suspecting that the search will turn up evidence that the student has violated or violating the laws and rules of the school. (469 U.S. at 343) The US Supreme court upholds the ruling, stating that the age and vulnerability of the student population and school responsibility for their well being balances the application of the law under the Fourth Amendment.

Student rights must be in accordance with school policy and setting. The law declares their rights are not the same as adults, meaning school administration has the responsibility to maintain and enforce discipline necessary for a good education.

The Fifth Amendment, which covers basic "fundamental" fairness, allows for each student found guilty certain rights:

  • Specific Information on the crime or charge
  • Evidence found connected to the charge explained
  • Opportunity to respond on her or his behalf ("Opportunity to be heard")

Fourth and Fifth Amendments are applicable in the following circumstances:

  • Drug testing students in extracurricular activities
  • Drug sniffing dogs on campus
  • Locker searches and metal detectors
  • Backpacks, wallet, and personal computer searches
  • Searching a student's car in the parking lot

Overall, schools and government must provide student constitutional rights and balance it with a right for safety in preventing school violence.

Data Source: National School Boards Association, Council of School Attorneys (NSBA)

Peace by What Means?

If God be our God, He will give us peace in trouble. When there is a storm without, He will make peace within. The world can create trouble in peace, but God can create peace in trouble. —Thomas Watson

Averting School Violence

School violence breeds injustice among the student population which can manifest itself through bullying and intimidation. Violence doesn't just affect an individual, it encompasses and infects families and communities. Left unchecked, it will spread and develop into character, creating a mindset open to violence.

Administrators desiring to curb school violence can take precautions and provide curriculum conducive to positive decision making and social interaction. Addressing the origins of hostility and aggression begins with enhancing student learning through programs designed to help them cope and avert potential harm. Conflict resolutions and reflective listening skills are tools successfully used to communicate and redirect aggression.

Here are additional suggestions:

  • Basic ethics is a must. Children who can show empathy and a caring nature serve as role models and leaders among peers. Developing positive social skills coincides with peaceful learning environments. With little cost and effort, character building can be integrated successfully into academic studies.
  • Setting up a buddy system for younger children is a must! My grandchildren's school has such a program in place and it not only helps children to adjust and feel a part of the group, but also builds leadership skills in those that mentor or assist others.
  • Staff training on diversity and culture. Teachers who understand student beliefs and practices portray an understanding and caring attitude. Children will react favorably to administration and staff who reach out to support them in this manner.
  • Establish forums and activities where students can express themselves without fear of being ridiculed or embarrassed leads to trust and respect. Encouraging teachers to attend student extracurricular activities also sends a message of support and cultivates harmony. Sports and club memberships deter gang activity. Schools must make every effort to keep these in the curriculum.
  • Lastly, monitoring hallways, restrooms, isolated areas on the school grounds and buildings averts potential danger. Soliciting parent volunteers for these roles, or rotating staff to cover these areas, will improve security and provide students with peace of mind.

Metal Detectors In Schools

One Parent's Personal View

The following is an excerpt from a speech made by Ms. Marlo Davis Hill, an advocate for the installation of Metal Detectors in Palm Beach County Florida schools.

Regarding the recent school shootings, we all have to wonder: are our kids safe? Hopefully, we can all agree that our kids need to be much safer at school. Let me see if I can get your attention; do you know how many kids have died from school shootings thus far? This year, 328 children have lost their lives over shootings. (January 22, 2013 statistic). The list will continue to grow if we as parents do not act now.

The majority of the schools in the United States do NOT use metal detectors on a day-to-day basis. How does that make you feel when sending your child to school? Some parents think it is time the school took our kids safety a little more seriously. The rate of gun ownership in the US is 19.5 times higher than similar high-income countries in the world. In the past thirty years, since 1982, America has mourned at least 61 mass murders.

Metal detectors do not just pick up guns and knives, they pick up metal objects, including bombs. As a parent, I teach my kids that guns are dangerous. But, can you say other parents do the same? Do you know that a metal detector can save not only my child, but yours?

As I conclude, please keep in mind that as parents, we must protect our children at any given moment. I don't know about you, but when I read 328 kids have lost their lives over shooting, it deeply hurts. Think about it, maybe those parents never fought for a metal detector. If it could have saved their kids lives, do you think they would? Unlike them, you have a chance not only to see your kids another day, but to protect them. What is your choice today? I know mine is to protect my child at any cost.

Ms. Marlo Davis Hill is an advocate for the use of metal detectors in schools: "We can save not only my child, but yours..."

Ms. Marlo Davis Hill is an advocate for the use of metal detectors in schools: "We can save not only my child, but yours..."

Share Your View . . .

Safety Shelters in Classrooms

Taking Measures of Security on Behalf of Children

Discuss the topic of violence as soon as you believe him or her to reach the age of reasoning on this issue. Ask open-ended questions about how they feel about it or how they perceive others who display violent behavior. Remember to keep your conversation age-appropriate and to communicate in a non-threatening, calm manner. Use caution in sharing more than your child is able to understand. Let your child know you believe her or him to be a good person and point out how their actions positively influence others.

Watch for Warning Signs

Your child may demonstrate certain behavior that indicates a fear or concern about school activities. Sudden withdrawal from sports, clubs, friends, etc., or anxiety about attending school may be a sign of bullying or fear for individual safety. Do not hesitate to intervene and let your child know that you can help. Often, children feel that they are alone and dread the possibility of being scolded. Talk to your child's teacher about the changes you have noticed and ask for advice.

Join The PTA or Local Chapter of the School Violence Prevention Coalition

PTA's across the nation are addressing the need for stronger school safety measures. Join and become an advocate for your school community. If necessary, form a community forum to address issues such as emergency response plans, crisis intervention, or panel on reasons and prevention of school violence. You may want to address issues with the media to keep citizens informed of school progress on this issue. Lastly, contact your legislator. This may be an opportunity to submit a petition or to influence laws impacting education and safety.

This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

Questions & Answers

Question: What are the Pros and Cons to having metal detectors in schools?

Answer: Many parents would argue metal detectors create anxiety in students and foster an environment of fear. However, there are those who believe it deters possible threats and signals a place of safety. Schools systems must consider the cost of installing and maintaining such a system but what price do we put on one life saved?

© 2013 Dianna Mendez


Christy B on April 26, 2017:

Ohhhh it's a scary place ~ I don't have kids but think of those out there whose parents have to think about talking to their kids about guns in school.. it is a reality given the mass shootings that have occurred. Your discussion here on metal detectors is very relevant, D, and I thank you for it. Also, it was wonderful to see you at my post at Poetic Parfait xx

Dianna Mendez (author) on October 19, 2016:

Anjili, I always feel like a criminal when asked by security to search my bags at such places. However, it does prevent those with the wrong intent from harming innocent lives. Thanks for your valuable comment.

Anjili from planet earth, a humanoid on October 05, 2016:

Thanks Teaches for such a cool hub on school security. With the high rate of deaths among students, one would understand and appreciate a parent's concern for their children and the need for scrutiny lest they pose a risk to other kids in school. I hope with time this will go a long way towards making education safer for our children.

I happen to be in a college where lecturers and workers are scrutinized much more than students. A teacher's car is seriously vetted, under carriage checked, bags carefully emptied and checked, leaving me in a foul mood that makes me feel like a stanger in a place I have worked for more than 15 year. Would you have the mood to teach after such an experience? Security measures are both good and bad depending on how they are carried out. Good article.

Dianna Mendez (author) on July 17, 2016:

Flourish, the security in our schools exists but as you say -- they lack enforcement in most institutions. With the ever increasing violence, I do hope effective safety measures will become important enough follow.

FlourishAnyway from USA on July 08, 2016:

Schools often don't even control their access that well. That would be my first choice before going to the expense and drama of metal detectors. Spend just a few moments on a high school or middle school campus and you'll find that people often

1. hold the door open for others instead of making them scan in (or letting them in a door they shouldn't be entering from)

2. don't check IDs or require sign-in/out because they recognize the person (really?)

3. don't evenly enforce existing rules (no knives of any type for the honor roll students as well as the drop-out prone).

And that's just for starters! Great thought-provoking hub!

Dianna Mendez (author) on August 18, 2014:

Randall, I am so sorry to hear of your horrible experiences. It is a shame that we have such problems in our society today, especially in schools. I pray for children every day that this evil will be averted. It is sad. May your week be a good one, dear friend.

Randall Jonas from Canada on August 16, 2014:

I live in Canada, in some schools we have cameras and security guards. I am not sure about the metal detectors. I taught at a school where a group of kids killed the teacher in the parking lot. And while I was there it turned out the security guard at my entrance was peddling drugs. I have never taught highs cool since that year. Some schools are great. And some ... Thanks for the information. I dislike the state of affairs with security and metal detectors. Even though we are not allowed to have a gun as easily as in parts of the US, students were shot at a university and college in my city. It is just very sad.

Dianna Mendez (author) on August 06, 2014:

It's tough being a student in a world so unstable. Administration concerns sometimes cause fear in children. Thanks for your add to the topic. Be well and strong.

ologsinquito from USA on August 05, 2014:

The metal detectors bother me a lot less than turning a school into a police state. It's frightening how sometimes trivial incidents are criminalized and blown way out of proportion.

Dianna Mendez (author) on June 26, 2014:

Silver-fish, I wish all countries were like Scotland and free from this issue of violence. This concern is top of mind for all parents these day in our country. Sad.

Ologsinquito, thank you for your feedback. I appreciate your opinions on this topic. Metal detectors can help but they must be used wisely and justly. Glad you stopped by and enjoy your weekend.

Midnight, I remember the worst threat in our high school was a bomb threat. It was of concern, but not as real as a gun actually entering the building unknown. Metal detectors are wonderful but the proper installation and use is still to be determined by each school program.

Sincerely, I agree with your views that our children are in danger without proper protection while at school. There should be strong safety measures installed in every school and parents would be wise to check these standards with their school systems.

sincerely on June 12, 2014:

How can it make them feel any more unsafe then they already are? I am sick to my stomach of seeing innocent children who thought they had a bright future dying at the hands of those who are failing to get psychological help for whatevr reason. At the least maybe it would deter many from getting in with weapons so easily and taking away the futures of those who are striving so hard to have one. Who will protect these kids if we don't? I want something done to at least stifle these kids who want to punish everyone because they are able to get away with it so easy.

Haydee Anderson from Hermosa Beach on April 08, 2014:

When I was in my teens I don't ever recall hearing or reading about the need for metal detectors in schools; it is so sad what our world is turning into. But, given violent people continue to target schools to communicate a message I understand why this subject matter is so important to discuss. If I had kids I would probably vote in favor of installing metal detectors in all schools, even colleges, but with these types of decisions personal freedoms are in fact being redefined.

ologsinquito from USA on April 08, 2014:

This is an excellent and well-balanced article. I don't mind the metal detectors as much as I detest treating teenagers as if they were criminals, and potentially prosecuting them for minor offenses and childish behavior. That trend is greatly disturbing.

Silver Fish from Edinburgh Scotland on April 08, 2014:

This has certainly opened my eyes. I had no idea that metal detectors were even needed in some schools. My kids go to a large(1000) pupil high school and I have never heard of anyone bringing a weapon to a school.

Having said that I live in rural Scotland- gun crime is unheard of, no-one here owns guns.

Dianna Mendez (author) on January 11, 2014:

Andy, I agree that mobile devices create social isolation and types of communication/games may cause additional concerns. I also believe that we need to address the real problem and not just put up detectors in schools. Thank you for stopping by and contributing to the topic. Enjoy your weekend, dear friend.

Andy Aitch from UK & South East Asian Region on January 05, 2014:

That's a really well laid out Hub teaches12345. It's magazine in quality, and written with real authority. Had to vote it up on presentation alone ;)

I know every generation seems to say things like: "It wasn't like this in my day. Kids had more respect for people, places, and things, etc." And without running the risk of uttering those one-liners that we middle-aged folks – and older – tend to come out with, I do actually think it's true, sad though it is.

There are horrific crimes committed by youths (and society as a whole) that barely make it into the inside pages of the local rags, yet back in the day they would have made international NEWS headlines, both on TV and in the printed media.

Metal Detectors in schools? I'm not so sure. It seems as though these problems are being addressed by fear, and an acceptance that such unruly behaviour in schools is merely a sign of the times.

Personally, I think a lot of today's problems are caused by the lack of socialization skills; something that is the result of new generations living with their heads buried deep inside mobile devices. This is just my opinion and it doesn't mean I'm right – of course – it just means I think I am ;)

Andy Aitch

Dianna Mendez (author) on November 25, 2013:

JPSO, I am happy to hear that your country doesn't have to deal with the violence in schools. We have had way too many over the past two years. I hate that we even have to discuss metal detectors in schools, but safety is an important issue when it comes to children. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. Enjoy your week and keep safe.

JPSO138 from Cebu, Philippines, International on November 24, 2013:

I have heard news about shooting incidents in the United States. It is also sad to note that some of them occurring inside the school campus. With that, I think metal detectors are appropriate. Luckily we do not have this things happening in our country. But even though, I think we should also have it. Much better to be prepared than be sorry later.

Dianna Mendez (author) on October 09, 2013:

Thank you, Daisy. I am humbled by those wonderful hubbers who voted for this honor. Blessings.

Daisy Mariposa from Orange County (Southern California) on October 09, 2013:

Dianna (teaches12345),

Congratulations for receiving the Best Teacher Hubbie Award two years in a row. The honor was well-deserved, my friend.

Dianna Mendez (author) on September 20, 2013:

Bobbi, not sure if metal detectors will solve all of the problem, but it certainly will help prevent a good number of them. I agree, we should not concern ourselves with the expense, children are priceless. Your suggestions on grants is excellent. School boards should have access to this information; and hopefully, they will resort to using it. Be well and safe.

Barbara Purvis Hunter from Florida on September 19, 2013:

I am for metal-detectors and anything else that will protect our children. I don’t care if taxes increase because of it; if it saves a child’s life then it is worth every penny. Children’s safety and security is first at all cost.

Our children need to feel we care enough about them that we will do everything in our power to protect them. All schools need a deputy on the premises and if the school board screams there is not enough money in our budget.

Then raise the money, there are savvy parents in our society who can look into grants for the safety of our children, notify your governor and find out what available grants does his/her know about.

Search the government website for grants; if there is a will, then you can find a way. I worry about my little nephews and nieces. Some are in private schools, home-school and public school.

Bobbi Purvis

Dianna Mendez (author) on September 18, 2013:

Bishop, I agree that more education is necessary. I hate that children have to be scanned by detectors prior to entering school, but sometimes the school location/area is the concern.

Lyric, our children live with the concern of gun safety in their environments. We do need to provide better safety measures in schools, not sure what the answer is as to what. Let's pray we do not see further school shootings.

Jackie, it does make you wonder about the number of lives that would have been saved had detectors been installed in some of the school shootings. I believe we must spend whatever it takes to secure our schools with safety devices and education.

Jackie Lynnley from the beautiful south on September 11, 2013:

I am for all the security they will allow, children need to be protected and the ones who may harm others need to know they won't achieve their goal. How many lives would this have saved already?


Richard Ricky Hale from West Virginia on August 26, 2013:

Teaches, voted up, useful, interesting, and shared on FB. This is certainly a hot topic, especially now that school is back in. They need them for sure, but I believe that we need to take more steps and possibly spend money to evaluate these situations. We have to keep guns out of school and with out technology, we shouldn't have any problem doing so. The money is well worth spending to save any child's life. I'm surprised more wasn't done this summer. Sadly, I wouldn't be surprised it something else happens. It's troubling for parents. Great article Teaches.

Rebecca from USA on August 24, 2013:

Very well written hub teaches12345. Isn't it sad that we live in a world that even considers this? I was thinking the other day, how when I grew up and learned to ride a bike, I did not require helmets and knee pads and all this other protective gear. I understand parents concern with their children's safety, but some of the measures we are taking are just nuts. People learn by mistakes, examples, inspiration, and motivation (in my opinion). I think metal detectors do promote a hostile environment, therefore I am against them. I also believe that we should just legalize ALL drugs, and let the morons that are dumb enough to do them ruin their lives, but instead, we outlaw and ban the purchase of cold medicine, and nail polish. Yes, we can take steps to reduce crime and violence, but I think lessons start at home, within the home with morals, lessons, rules, structure. Guns, knives, etc...don't kill people. PEOPLE kill people. Guns are simply the "vehicle". Metal detectors won't end violence. I mean seriously...what is next? Removing swing-line staplers? Although it is a contradiction to my comment about drug legalization, ending violence can only be done with teaching kindness, compassion, loving differences in others, and treating our mentally ill. And above all...more education. Anyhow...I was getting on a rant.

Dianna Mendez (author) on August 01, 2013:



Education is key when it comes to safety of our children in schools in elsewhere. Knowing the source of violence is important and handling those bullies is even more so. I hate that our kids have to deal with these issues, but together we must stand for what is best in making it a better place for everyone. Thank you both for your added value to this article. Blessings.

Theresa Ast from Atlanta, Georgia on July 28, 2013:

Diane -

Don't know how I missed this so long. Excellent hub with balanced views and information. It is tragic that we must even have this conversation, but I would choose metal detectors over armed guards. Thank you for this important hub. Blessings. Theresa

Rebecca Mealey from Northeastern Georgia, USA on July 28, 2013:

I think we should educate the kids on why most people feel there is a need for metal detectors. Let's examine the causes of these tragedies. I'll bet a big percentage can be traced to bullying and/0r social rejection of those that are different, and those are issues that have to be addressed aggressively. Thanks for writing this, teaches!

Dianna Mendez (author) on July 27, 2013:

I hope your area doesn't change either, Leah. It is sad that most children have to experience this screening process daily. Thanks for coming by here today. Take care and enjoy your week.

Leah Lefler from Western New York on July 27, 2013:

I am so grateful that we live in an area that doesn't require the use of metal detectors in school. We're in a rural area and haven't had any problems yet... I hope that doesn't change in the years to come. I'm all for metal detectors when needed - children cannot learn if they are not safe.

Dianna Mendez (author) on June 23, 2013:

Lindacee, it is a sad say when children have to be searched before entering school. I pray for our children's safety daily.

Sunshine, random checks are helpful but having detectors will make it uniform and perhaps safer.

Carly, I remember being able to walk people to the gate and miss being able to say good-bye as you watch them board. Yes, we have adjusted to being scanned before boarding planes and agree that not doing so now would make us feel unsafe.

Marie, I pray that as well. Some day.

Rose, I am not sure what the best solution is for keeping our children safe at school, but detectors would definitely help.

Thanks everyone for adding to the content. I appreciate your thoughts and support.

rose-the planner from Toronto, Ontario-Canada on June 22, 2013:

If metal detectors will keep children and staff safe then I am all for it. Great article! Thank you for sharing. (Voted Up) -Rose

Marie Flint from Jacksonville, FL USA on June 22, 2013:

Better safe than sorry. And, pray that, after years of no detections, we will no longer need them.

Carly Sullens from St. Louis, Missouri on June 22, 2013:

I am in favor of keeping our kids as safe as possible. If that means adding metal detectors so be it. It just takes one student with a gun to create a horrid event.

Although alarming at first, I believe students and teachers would adjust and it would just become common. Just like going to the airport. We have all adjusted to the airport stricter changes after 911.

I remember waiting at the end of the gate for my dad to get off the airplane. Those times are long and gone.

Voted up and shared.

Linda Bilyeu from Orlando, FL on June 03, 2013:

There is talk about adding metal detectors to all schools in Orange County. I'm all for it. Right now they are doing random checks which is useful also since the kids never know when the check is coming.

Linda Chechar from Arizona on May 28, 2013:

Sadly, I think metal detectors are needed in schools. Just a sign of the world in which we live. When children come to school armed with intent to kill others, I say we must protect students and faculty somehow.

Dianna Mendez (author) on April 14, 2013:

Anjili, I appreciate your support of the topic and your voice on turning the tide on school violence. It only takes a few to help steer others towards this view. Be well and safe, dear friend. Blessings.

Anjili from planet earth, a humanoid on April 14, 2013:

That is a good message to both pupils and parents out there. The loss of 328 kids per year is too bad. Not a single child who sets out to go to school to learn should get lost through violent activities in school.

Schooling was a joyful experience for most parents. This is why we find it difficult to conceptualize the presence of violence in an otherwise calm enriching environment. A school is a battlefield of the intellect. weapons have no place in school. Why some people have things up-side-down I don't understand. We should fight to restore our schools back to older safer days of our childhood where we knew the teacher would take charge and get our kids back home safe and sound. Wonderful article you got here.

Dianna Mendez (author) on April 10, 2013:

Mommy, I don't know what the best solution is for safety within the schools. I do know that something needs to be at a basic level, regardless of metal detectors. Training people to handle disaster and how to support a child's emotional and social needs is also a key factor. Thanks for your contribution to this topic. You were blessed in being home-schooled.

Julie on April 08, 2013:

I was personally home-schooled. My husband spent most of his time in a private school, but then transferred to a public school in his 11th grade year. Admittedly, because of being home-schooled, I do think I was sheltered a bit. While I did feel protected, I also felt that there were things I missed out on. With a little one now at home, my husband and I have revisited the education debate several times without a real decision as to which direction we want to go (ie. private vs. public vs. homeschool). The metal detector issue is an interesting one. I'm torn over it. I do think that it could lend to a safer environment, however, to some students, it may convey a great amount of distrust--especially to the ones who are actively trying to be good kids.

Dianna Mendez (author) on April 04, 2013:

Molly, it is a sad note indeed. Ethics is a different view for our younger generation, much of what was valued in the past decade has changed. You have a point, it is connected to the rise in school violence. Blessings, dear friend.

Mary Strain from The Shire on April 03, 2013:

Teaches, it's a sad note, but I think metal detectors are becoming a necessary layer of protection. I went to a pretty thuggy high school and there was once a major brawl between two groups of students in the halls outside my home ec class. I remember the teacher locked the door and told us we had to stay in the class for our own safety. I would have loved a metal detector back then, in the stone age, and I can only imagine what high schools are like now. I think the basic ethics you mentioned is the answer, but nowadays people seem to resent even the idea of ethics training. I think the violence we're seeing is the sad result. Thanks for this thoughtful treatment of an important issue.

Dianna Mendez (author) on March 30, 2013:

Dwachira, thank you for being part of the discussion and for adding insightful information. Yes, we should look for more of these types of security measures to be installed in the future here in the US. It is sad that we have to take such precautions, but better safe than sorry. Have a great day!

Danson Wachira from Nairobi, Kenya on March 30, 2013:

Hi teaches12345,

With the recent threats of terrorism, going through metal detectors is a norm we are trying to cope up with here in Kenya. Metal detectors are everywhere, in schools, malls, public transport, banks and even in churches. We understand it here, it all because of safety and i hope many will understand it there. You have presented it well and i think many should naturally accept it. Voted up, useful and shared.

Dianna Mendez (author) on March 26, 2013:

Ruchira, I haven't decided upon the proper security systems for all schools, but certainly it wouldn't hurt to discuss this among administrators and parents. Education on the purpose should be taught to staff, parent and children in order to prevent misunderstanding on security issues. Thanks for your valuable input.

Ruchira from United States on March 26, 2013:

Great topic of discussion. Honestly, I would not want metal detectors in school, but with the rapid increase in violence. There is no harm in going with the current times. Innocence sure will be lost, but then it is being practical about our surroundings.

We don't have metal detectors in school yet.

voted up as interesting/useful

Dianna Mendez (author) on March 25, 2013:

It's good to hear from someone who experienced this safety measure in school. I guess it is all how you look at it and helping the children to know the purpose. Thanks for your insightful comment. Take care.

Sasha Kim on March 25, 2013:

A lot of great information here! I personally went to a school with metal detectors and I wasn't bothered by them and wouldn't be apposed if my kids schools had them too. Great hub, voting up!

Dianna Mendez (author) on March 25, 2013:

Excellent points, Sid. I would vote in favor of training our teachers in peaceful non-violent communication and encourage students to build character to impact society. Evil will always find a way to harm others, knowing this and how to best defend ourselves is key to creating a safe environment. Thank you for being a vital part of this discussion. God bless you, dear friend.

Sid Kemp from Boca Raton, Florida (near Miami and Palm Beach) on March 25, 2013:

Thank you for an honest exploration of a critical topic. As my wife and I were not blessed with children, I don't stand in a place to form an opinion. But as a lifelong specialist in learning and a pacificist, I do want to join the conversation. First of all, learning requires both the actual fact of safety and also the experience of feeling safe. If our schools do not create both, then no real learning is going on.

Second, we must be aware of the different types of violence, and how to deter each. Metal detectors are likely to reduce tragedies where an angry or hurt or scared student brings a gun or knife to school, and what would have been a fistfight 50 years ago is a fatality today. But it would not stop a massacre such as happened in Newtown, CT.

Third, no method of protection will create perfect safety. For perfect safety, we must go deeper, as your quote from Gandhi indicates. Here is a man who was beaten many times, assaulted, imprisoned. What did he mean when he said, "Nobody can hurt me without my permission?" Schools cannot teach the safety of knowing who we truly are, and how we are all part of Life. That is the realm of spirit.

Fourth, I am strongly in favor of teaching our children the art of non-violent communication. There is an excellent program called the Way of Council that works for everyone, and has been implemented all across the Los Angeles, CA school system. It does far more than teach safety; it teaches life skills.

Dianna Mendez (author) on March 22, 2013:

Seeker, it seems the number of school and college related violence is increasing. The US experienced another such incident this past week. Fortunately, it was averted. I believe it is not an issue soley concerned with guns, but one of people who are emotionaly distraught as well. This is is not exclusive to the US, it can happen anwhere in the world. Good to hear Scotland has such peaceful school environment. Thank you for being a part of the conversation and for adding such wisdom. Take care and be well.

Helen Murphy Howell from Fife, Scotland on March 22, 2013:

What an excellent hub this is. Although I'm in Scotland we did hear of the tragic shootings in the US and I'm not alone in saying that people in the whole of the UK were very distressed and shocked by the loss of the kids and their teachers in such a horrific manner.

I could say that fortunately Scotland has only had one such incident in schools - at Dunblane Primary School a number of years ago - but even one incident is one too many especially for the parents and families of those who died. With this in mind I know that people in Scotland and other countries are very interested in what the parents and teachers in the US feel about the issues presented in your excellent hub. At the end of the day, what the American people learn and the measures they adopt for the safety of their children in school might be the same re-structuring that other countries will have to carry out as well at some time in the future. It's just sad that this discussion is taking place at all and that kids are perhaps scared of going to school - a place that plays such a big part in shaping them as future adults.

Is it the case then - and not just a problem in the US - that the level of violence in the world in general needs to be seriously addressed and only then will our schools and children be safe? This is of course a big and debatable question and one that is not likely to be answered easily.

An excellent and very informative hub - voted up + shared.

Dianna Mendez (author) on March 21, 2013:

Rebecca, I like the idea of clear or mesh bags too. Seems like it would help with keeping things a little safer in schools. Glad you came by and I appreciate your input.

Rebecca Mealey from Northeastern Georgia, USA on March 20, 2013:

Hi teaches. This is very informative and useful on the issue of school safety. I can understand the point about making a hostile environment. It reminds me of something I heard the other day about locking juvenile offenders up turned out to be a mistake. Sadly, with so much violence though, I tend to think that metal detectors are a good idea. I once thought in a district that only allowed clear or mesh bookbags. They should at least do that.

Dianna Mendez (author) on March 20, 2013:

Hello Susan, I believe the locked door policy works well to prevent unwanted visitors. The guns and knives are another matter of concern needing attention. Thank you for your input here. Stafe safe and well.

Glimmer, I am not sure what the answer is to safety measures for our children. I just know that the violence is increasing and not sure how schools will be able to handle necessary security. Thank you for adding our thoughts to the conversation. Take care.

Claudia Mitchell on March 20, 2013:

There was a time years ago when I would have said no way to metal detectors in school. As you noted, locker searches were the biggest thing when I was in school. That being said, and with a daughter in school, walking through a metal detector is a tiny inconvenience that I would gladly go through if it helped stop any potential violence. Of course, paying for them is another matter entirely. Great hub and extremely thought provoking.

Susan Zutautas from Ontario, Canada on March 18, 2013:

Here in Canada we have not as yet installed metal detectors but we do have a few schools where there are security guards. What a lot of schools are doing is to have a locked door policy where all the doors to the school are locked except the main door, and that one is monitored. Locking the doors does not keep out the knives and guns that these children bring to school. I personally think if metal detectors keeps the children safer .... go for it.

Very interesting hub.

Dianna Mendez (author) on March 17, 2013:

Hi Martie!

I pray daily for the safety of our children and hope we see a solution on safety measures for all children soon. Take are and enjoy your week.

Martie Coetser from South Africa on March 17, 2013:

Awesome and comprehensive hub about the installation of metal detectors in schools. So very sad that we have to do this nowadays. Stressing the policies of National Internal Security in this hub was an excellent idea.

In my time school was a safe haven for children. Unfortunately no longer. Too many lunatics - children AND teachers with mental issues due to incompetent parents and the psychological effects of sex and violence on national TV, and not to talk about all the crazy outsiders targeting 'soft targets' like schools.

Excellent hub!

Dianna Mendez (author) on March 17, 2013:

Genna, I can see how installation of metal detectors would cause students some stress. I would hope the administration would provide students a slow introduction and instruction before implementing these safety measures. Thanks for your comment and visit. Stay warm and safe up in Boston.

Alocsin, LA is one area that has probably adjusted to the use of these safety measures and could probably role model for the rest of the nation on how to properly introduce them to students. Good add to the topic. Be well and safe.

Aurelio Locsin from Orange County, CA on March 17, 2013:

Here is L.A., school have had metal detectors for years. While I don't particularly like them, I can see their use in preventing school violence. Voting this Up and Useful.

Genna East from Massachusetts, USA on March 16, 2013:

You have voiced the dichotomy of this growing problem so well. We want to provide a safer environment for our children, but one that is welcoming and fosters avid and open life-long learning. The year after my son graduated high school, they installed metal detectors and added security. One weekend, when he was home from college for a visit, we went to the school to see teachers, friends and parents during a football game. Everything seemed to have changed overnight. The overall feeling was more tense, tightened-up, so to speak, and on guard in the school. This new “sensitivity” was inescapable, palpable.

These changes require the better sensitivity on behalf of our children…parents and school leaders must communicate with students to help them better understand these changes, and become stronger advocates for their mental, emotional and educational health as well. Excellent hub!

Dianna Mendez (author) on March 16, 2013:

Rtalloni, asking student opinion is valuable to the implementation of safety measures within schools. As adults, we sometimes forget how young ones view these types of protective devices and methods. Thanks for adding this to the discussion. So glad you stopped by! Be safe and well.

RTalloni on March 16, 2013:

It's so important to initiate good discussions on school safety and this hub has certainly generated one. Thanks for a post that offers a balanced look at the issue of metal detectors in schools. The input of parents and teachers on the issue should be pivotal. Asking children what they think about it, whether they would like to see them in their own schools also provides helpful input to the issue.

Dianna Mendez (author) on March 16, 2013:

Thanks for visiting, Eddy. I hope the topic does provide many food for thought in providing safety measures in schools. Be well and safe. Blessings.

Eiddwen from Wales on March 16, 2013:

Very interesting and leaves much food for thought .

Thanks for sharing Dianna.


Dianna Mendez (author) on March 16, 2013:

Nell, I like your thoughts on being uniform in installing the doors at school. Making everyone pass through them makes it seem less intrusive. Thanks for the comment and sharing. Enjoy your day.

Daisy, the cost is tremendous, but lives are priceless. We should consider the consequences of it, our children are far more valuable and safety measures are necessary these days.

Suzanne, hope things get better soon, in spite of those who control the flow of government.

Vinaya, so glad to hear that your country doesn't have these concerns. That is a blessing. Good to have you visit and thanks for your add to the topic.

Midget, yes, why does it take a tragedy to change some things? Hopefully, we can avert another one. Thanks for your comment and valued opinion. Be safe and well.

Mary, agree with you on implementing safety measures with each new school built. It will save lives and give all peace of mind. Thanks for your support and sharing. You have a great weekend, sweet lady.

Thanks to everyone for your stopping by to read the article and for you're always appreciated support. God bless you.

Mary Hyatt from Florida on March 16, 2013:

You have written yet another great Hub! Our schools do not have metal detectors. When new schools are built I think that would be the time to place these detectors. I'd sure feel better about sending my child to a school that used these detectors.

Voted UP and shared.

Michelle Liew from Singapore on March 15, 2013:

It is sad that it takes something drastic to make people wake up to things.and people can trip detectors...but still, better another safety measure! Thanks for sharing, and I pass this on.

Vinaya Ghimire from Nepal on March 15, 2013:

Because of recent school shooting phenomena in the West, especially in the US, concern about security has become an issue. This is not a case in our country.

I found your arguments very interesting.

justmesuzanne from Texas on March 15, 2013:

No, things are definitely unwell in Texas. Rick Perry is still in a position of power.

Daisy Mariposa from Orange County (Southern California) on March 15, 2013:


Thanks for publishing this article. You've covered a very important, timely subject.

Metal detectors should be at all entrances into each school in one's community. There's no question that the potential for saving lives far outweighs the cost.

Nell Rose from England on March 15, 2013:

I definitely think that metal detectors are a great idea. If they placed them on all the entrance doors each and every person entering that school will have to go through them. This way it won't look as though any particular person is being picked on. Over here there are camera's that are constantly monitoring the classes. I am not sure if its all the schools but the 5 to 11 schools have them. What a great hub, and voted up and shared! nell

Dianna Mendez (author) on March 15, 2013:

Suzanne, it is something that needs answers. I assume the teachers are trained in carrying weapons, and perhaps it is necessary in the types of schools they work, for reasons unaware. However, it cause for concern when, as you mention, teachers are under stress and students are unpredictable. Perhaps someone has the answer to this question. Thanks for your insightful response to this topic. Hope things are well in Texas.

justmesuzanne from Texas on March 15, 2013:

I don't mind metal detectors or security personnel at the entrance to schools. I think that's a good idea. Teachers should not carry guns. Teachers are ordinary people under tremendous stress. Many students are volatile and unpredictable. Having multiple guns in a school setting is just asking for tragedy.

Dianna Mendez (author) on March 15, 2013:

CClitgirl, it is a difficult decision to make. But, as you said, we must do something to protect the children. Thanks for your comment and support. Hope your weekend is a good one.

Peggy, I agree on the new school implementation. It just makes sense! Great thought and thanks for your contribution here.

Ignugent, saving lives is what we need to focus upon. Thanks for your add to the discussion. Blessings and take care.

Sholland, yes, much has changed. It is a different world we live in today. Hopefully, we can make it much safer for our future children. Looks like your hometown has the right idea and cares about their students.

Paolo, I pray it doesn't happen again as well. Increasing safety for all people is a big responsbility indeed, but one worth pursuing. Thanks for your add to this discussion. Enjoy your weekend.

John Paolo B.Magdaluyo from Philippine on March 15, 2013:

Great hub! I think its best for schools to increase the safety of every individual under their responsibilities and establishing a system like this would assure or lessen the risk of any personal injuries and worse killing. That I pray wont happen again to any school around the world

Susan Holland from Southwest Missouri on March 14, 2013:

I teach in my hometown school. Much has changed. Now we have metal detectors, cameras (almost everywhere), security guards, and the police periodically come in with the dogs to search. I find it very sad that these are measures that must be resorted to today. The town has grown 10xs since I graduated.

We no longer know who we meet in the grocery store. Some parents are extremely involved, but many are not. In the high school, I have students whose parents want to know about every point and the student's weekend depends on it. Other parents, I never meet unless I make the contact.

I guess metal detectors and all of the above are a sign of the times we live in. I do not like them, but I accept them. My students seem to feel safer with the metal detector when we discuss my time in school compared to their time in school. They know their rights, and only a few really buck the system. I try to show every student respect and make all of them feel like worthy individuals - teachers may be the only caring adults they have in their lives.

We must all go about our day and live. Students are used to many things I never dreamed of at their age. Sad commentary.

Votes and shares!

ignugent17 on March 14, 2013:

It is always good to talk about the safety of the students in ths school. I think it is good to have these metal detectors to protect the students. It will cause delay or inconvenience but we have to consider also that it can save lives.

Thanks for sharing your point of view.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on March 14, 2013:

It is sad that parents and those in charge of schools have to even consider such a subject. With the recent slaughter of those elementary kids and some of the teachers, it is definitely on the minds of people as to the best way to protect all of the people in schools from the janitors to the volunteers as well as the teachers and students.

The costs of implementing metal detectors in all schools nationwide is probably too expensive given our current economic woes. Of course some districts depending upon their tax base would fare better than others.

I can see a case for newly constructed schools to incorporate such a safety precaution since the funds to build new schools would be voted upon and funded.

This hub gives one much to ponder. Up votes.

Cynthia Calhoun from Western NC on March 14, 2013:

What a well-composed, cogent hub, Dianna. I love your points and facts. I am stuck - I don't know whether the direction we're going in as far as metal detectors go is good or bad, but we have to do something. :)

Dianna Mendez (author) on March 14, 2013:

Deborah, the campus with open areas and multiple buildings are at a disadvantage. The cost to secure each building would have to be considered. A perimieter security fence and cameras are other options in thise circumstance. Let's hope security is not a problem in your area.

Secruity guards and locked doors are a higher sense of security in any building. Thanks Stephanie, for your feedback.

Alicia, the complexity of the subject should be simple to implement when it comes to the security of children. However, what type is the issue. Great seeing you're here today.

DDE, I agree it is way too sad to be addressing security measures in our schools. Hopefully, our future will hold a peaceful solution and tranquil learning environments. Blessings.

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on March 14, 2013:

It is so sad to see such changes in the palce of education to have metal detectors.

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on March 13, 2013:

There is a great deal to think about in this hub, Dianna. Thank you for presenting so much useful information about a complex topic.

stephanieb27 from United States on March 13, 2013:

I think after awhile people would be used to having them. I taught at an elementary school in the city of St. Louis. There was one entrance in the front of the school and one in the back (for teachers.) Both doors were always locked and you had to be buzzed in. We also had a security guard that sat right where you walked in the door. The high schools have metal detectors. Having the extra security was more of a comfort to me than a negative feeling. As a parent, I would also feel an extra sense of comfort! Great hub! :)

Deborah-Diane from Orange County, California on March 13, 2013:

I work at a high school that has a very open campus with multiple directions of approach and multiple buildings. Every time there is a shooting at a school, I wish we had a more closed campus with more limited access. Thanks for your thoughtful article.

Dianna Mendez (author) on March 13, 2013:

Whonu, it is unfortunate that so many innocent lives have been taken in order to address this concern. I appreciate your visit here and your wisdom in thought. Take care and enjoy your day.

Dianna Mendez (author) on March 13, 2013:

Good Afternoon, Kathi. You and I are in agreement on the teaching of values in the home. But, as you mentioned in a round about way, not everyone follows this wisdom. Thus, we are having to resort to severe safety measures to keep our children safe. Thank you for adding your insightful opinion, dear friend. Blessings and be safe out there.

whonunuwho from United States on March 13, 2013:

Hello teaches, I enjoyed this article and feel that it is on a subject that should have been addressed nationally for many years and been ignored for the most part. Thanks for bringing this into the spotlight.whonu.

Kathi Mirto from Fennville on March 13, 2013:

I agree with so much that's already been said . . . the lost art of teaching values first at home would turn things around, but that has many implications of its own. I can understand how having metal detectors would instill the climate of mistrust, but it is what it is and if that made a difference, why not give it a try. It could also instill, ironically, a climate of safe keeping. I pray too, my friend, Kathi

Dianna Mendez (author) on March 13, 2013:











Each of you has added value to the topic and discussion. I believe good citzenship and values begin in the home. It is reinforced through the education of children in schools. I like the concept of teaching students to understand human values, empathy and patriiotism mentioned by many of you. I too hate that we have to discuss this issue with parents. Yes, our government is having to monitoring society due to the lack of intrinsic ethical beliefs of our people. I pray that we begin to take seriously the raising of children so that the future is void of this type of violence. Blessigs, be safe and well, dear friends.


The healthy learning environment will be lost if a metal detector is installed at the entrance of any schools. Besides being a very costly proposition it will bring in an environment of suspicion between the teacher and the taught weaning them off the purpose they are being sent to such holy places. Instead of saying no to criminal activities students will be better counselled how such cruel inhuman anti social activities can mar their lives and ruin an entire nation. The teachers cannot evade their responsibility by passing the buck. Every teacher should take responsibility of at least say 10 students to monitor their activities in and out of the school closely in liaison with their parents and nip any pervasive attitude in the bud .After all a student does not become a criminal overnight. The debate allows me to fondly remember our great poet laureate and educationist Rabindra Nath Tagore who always advocated an education without any fetters, which can only bring out a complete man with human values, sympathy, compassion, patriotism and a rational outlook.

His concept of ideal education covered the description of ideal atmosphere, institution, teacher, and method. And his success lies in the fact that he did not try to control directly the ideas, feelings, and values of his students but imaginatively designed an environment and a programne of activities and experiences which evoked the desired responses. Thanks for the thought provoking hub.

Tijani Achamlal from Morocco on March 13, 2013:

Very interesting and wonderful research .Thanks for shedding light on this sensitive subject.I think this metal detector looks like a brave step in ensuring school safety but in reality reflects only two things :The fiasco of the current government to curb crime and secondly,The fiasco of parents to raise up a good generation.I voted up

Nithya Venkat from Dubai on March 13, 2013:

Great hub, saving lives of children is very important. All parents should tell their children to keep away from guns, but as you say not all parents will. Voted up.

Shampa Sadhya from NEW DELHI, INDIA on March 13, 2013:

Voted up and useful!

Once again you have come up with a vey strong subject. Though this is a debatable topic but I feel what are we going to do with the environment of the school if there remains no student to attend it. Thus, security is the priority. Let the children be safe then other things can be managed.

A superb post with all the details. Sharing and pinning!

Life Under Construction from Neverland on March 13, 2013:

A wonderful post Dianna!! you nailed this very sensitive and a great issue the world is facing.

Suzette Walker from Taos, NM on March 13, 2013:

Great article! Isn't it sad we even have to have this discussion in America? It is a sad commentary on our times.

Martin Kloess from San Francisco on March 13, 2013:

Thank you for this. Your message is so important I shared it.

Tom Schumacher from Huntington Beach, CA on March 12, 2013:

Although I'm not against metal detectors in schools per se, I am, however, growing more concerned with what appears to be larger government watching and regulating our every action. What's next, metal detectors at the grocery stores, laundry mats, and movie theaters?

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