Metal Detectors Are Not The Right Approach For Handling Gun Violence, Here’s Why

Julia Grumbling, Staff Writer

Thursday, September 30, a student brought a 9mm Glock handgun to Bloomington High School South. Although there did not appear to be any real intention of carrying out a school shooting and South’s administration has stated that “the weapon was never used in a threatening manner, and school staff followed all safety protocols”, parents and students are still left feeling uneasy about the situation. 

The Herald Times reported that the gun was loaded with a magazine, but there was no bullet in the chamber and a second loaded magazine was found in the bag, according to the Bloomington Police Department. The student, a 14 year old male, has been expelled and placed in the hands of juvenile probation authorities on a charge of possession of a firearm on school property. 

This incident has sparked the conversation among some community members about implementing metal detectors at South. Most experts agree that there is no evidence to support that metal detectors make schools a safer place. Installing metal detectors in school gives the school an almost prison-like environment and sets a tone of distrust between students and faculty. Additionally, an armed guard would be required to manage the security system, which would only add to the creation of a tense environment at South. 

Additionally, installing metal detectors increases discrimination and racial profiling in schools. The Education Trust reports that schools with over 50% students of color are 18 times more likely to have metal detectors and armed guards in their schools. To put this more simply, the more students of color at a school, the more likely they are to have these extra security measures. The actual crime rate in the area has less impact on the likelihood of schools having metal detectors than the amount of students of color attending the school.  

Metal detectors and armed student resource officers are also an additional expense that South has not needed to budget for in the past. They cost thousands of dollars, without even taking into consideration the maintenance costs. They would also significantly slow down the amount of time it takes students and teachers to enter the building in the morning and take away from time for learning. 

Although the incident that took place at South was alarming, there are more appropriate ways to address issues with school violence. A better option is to continue training staff for realistic school shooting scenarios and making sure students are feeling supported at school, mentally and academically. The best way to address school violence is to better the environment and make sure faculty are confident in their ability to address a violent situation in the best way possible. Families can also do their part by securely locking away guns and storing their ammunition separately so that teens don’t have access to them.