Metal detectors could soon be coming to Palm Beach County schools

Published: Jan. 19, 2023 at 5:21 PM EST
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Metal detectors in schools is a hotly-debated topic that is now front and center in Palm Beach County schools.

School board member Edwin Ferguson first strongly voiced his support for putting metal detectors in schools at Wednesday night's school board meeting.

"How much lead-up as a society do we need before we do what's right by our children," Ferguson said Wednesday.

Ferguson told WFLX at minimum the district needs security officers on each campus to use metal detector wands on everyone entering a school building.

"Everybody, from the employees down to the parents to students to visitors, need to be wanded down," he said. "I think that provides us the greatest assurance of removing or preventing knives and guns from coming onto our school campuses."

Palm Beach County School Superintendent Mike Burke said a pilot program is in the works, and detectors will soon be tested at high schools in the district.

"With security and safety, your work is never done," Burke said. "I supported the pilot at a couple schools. I want to see how that goes, and I'll bring back a more detailed recommendation to the board."

He told WFLX several detectors will soon be tested at high schools in the district. After the pilot program, they will work out the logistics, including the costs.

"If it has staffing implications, that's where it would really get more expensive," Burke said. "If we can make the logistics work with our existing police officers, our existing school administrators, and it's just a matter of equipment, we can handle that. If it requires that we need to hire more people to do the wanding, that's where the price will grow exponentially."

Burke said the metal detectors could be in schools as early as next school year.

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