Metal Detectors

Commentary - Cornell, Dewey "Our Schools Are Safe: Challenging the Misperception That Schools Are Dangerous Places"

  • Published by the American Journal of Orthopsychiatry | Dewey Cornell, University of Virginia - 2015

  • Massive public attention to school shootings has created the misperception that schools are dangerous places, even though crime statistics show that schools are one of the safest places in the United States. The use of a threat assessment approach to evaluate individual student behavior in context and resolve conflicts and problems before they escalate into violence is one promising alternative that has been adopted statewide in Virginia public schools. School safety should focus on the everyday problems of bullying and fighting, and apply public health principles of primary and secondary prevention using well-established psychological interventions.

How to keep schools safe? We're focusing our time, energy and money on 'all the wrong things' experts say

  • The deadly shooting at Saugus High School in Santa Clarita, California in November 2019, prompted calls for the increased installation of metal detectors at schools. Safety experts say that's precisely the wrong response. There's a cheaper, more effective approach, but it's a tough sell.(Retrieved from: usatoday.com | Jorge L. Ortiz, Nov.2019)


School Security Measures and Their Impact on Students

  • The National Association of School Psychologists cautions against over-emphasizing extreme physical security measures or universally increasing armed security in schools as such strategies may undermine the learning environment while not necessarily safeguarding students. When considering school-wide efforts to promote safety, NASP recommends addressing the continuum of needs and services that lead to improved safety, well-being, and learning for children and youth, instead of the historical practice of primarily increasing school building safety measures, such as armed security guards, metal detectors, and surveillance cameras. The decision to utilize armed security should be made based on the needs of individual schools and communities.

  • Research on the impact of such security measures on students supports these recommendations (Published by the NASP (2018) | School security measures and their impact on students [Research summary   (PDF - 261KB)] Bethesda, MD: Author.)

Campus Safety

The Pros and Cons of Installing Metal Detectors in Schools

  • Retrieved from: campussafetymagazine.com | Zach Winn, April 2018

  • School and university officials must consider both the benefits and the drawbacks of every security investment, like this common entryway solution. Placing metal detectors in schools and colleges has always been a controversial move. As with every security decision, administrators have a lot of things to take into account before making the decision to purchase these devices. But even more so than with other security investments, installing metal detectors needs to be a choice made with the wider community in mind. How will students, teachers and parents respond?


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