Broward Schools Employ Metal Detectors

Broward County Public School logo.

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Broward County Public School logo.

Momo Sutton, Reporter

Due to the surge in potential violence, schools are finding new ways to ensure the safety of students. So, to combat the increase in weapons, Broward County schools are implementing metal detectors in the latest surge of security upgrades made by the district since the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High in Parkland in February 2018.

For a bit of context, the mass shooting occurred on February 14, 2018, when 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz opened fire on students and staff at the school, killing 17 people and injuring 17 others. The killing spree is the deadliest high school shooting in United States history, surpassing the Columbine High School massacre that killed 13 in Colorado in April 1999. On March 9th of that year, Governor Rick Scott signed a bill that implemented new restrictions to Florida’s gun laws and also allowed for the arming of teachers who were properly trained and the hiring of school resource officers.

Even more school shootings have occurred since then, namely the shooting at Oxford being the most infamous in recent months. Ethan Crumbley, 15-years-old, was charged with murder and terrorism over Oxford High School rampage that left four dead and seven injured in the deadliest US school shooting of the year.

“We have a new security team, a new superintendent and way more weapons on campus than we did in 2018,” said School Board member Debbi Hixon, whose husband, Chris, was a security monitor killed at Stoneman Douglass. “We’re just having an epidemic with students having weapons in their bags.”

These metal wand detectors will randomly search student backpacks and purses in classrooms. Every school will get at least one handheld detector while lager schools will receive multiple ones. The plan is to start during the spring semester, but the school staff must first undergo training. Since these screenings are random and not at a certain entry point, they will be harder to bypass or avoid.

John Moreno-Escobar, who has a son at Sawgrass Elementary in Sunrise, disagrees and believes the district is taking the wrong approach. He says, “We should be working on finding alternative solutions that focus on the individual by providing extra support via counselors, social workers, and mental health professionals. We should be asking why our students are bringing guns to our schools. What’s the root cause? That would be a good start!”

The debate continues whether this approach is the right one, and not just a new security measure that only serves to make the students uneasy.