Should schools have metal detectors?

By Al Pefley - bio | email

RIVIERA BEACH, FL (WFLX) - Considering the fatal stabbing at Coral Gables High, is it time to install metal detectors in Palm Beach County schools?

One high school principal says yes. Inlet Grove Community High in Riviera Beach has about 750 students in grades 9-12.

And the principal says she feels metal detectors would be a good idea, especially in the larger schools in our area.

Dr. Emma Banks, the principal at Inlet Grove, and a couple of other principals Fox 29 spoke with on the phone, said they rely on teachers and staff members, such as custodians and lunch room workers, to be alert and watch the students carefully.

They also watch what they bring to school, to see if there's anything protruding from their book bags or their pockets.

Teachers and administrators also try to cultivate a relationship with each student so that if a student sees a weapon or sees that something isn't right, they'll tell a teacher about it.

Even with all those things in place, Dr. Banks says installing metal detectors in public schools would be a smart move.

"With the way things are today, I really think they should be in the schools. What would that accomplish that you're not doing now? Well, for me if a student has a pen-knife on 'em, you know, it will detect it. With me now, if I don't see it and no one tells me, I don't know they have it," Dr. Banks said.

Banks says they make it a practice of greeting each student as they enter the school in the morning and shake their hand, and tell the students if they have a problem to let someone know so they can do something about it.

That builds a trusting relationship between the students and the faculty, so the teens know they can alert a teacher if somebody brings a weapon to school.  They rely on that kind of trust, plus a high level of scrutiny, to try to make sure no weapons get into the school building.