Cons of Having Metal Detectors At Schools


Jorge Alvear, South Side Editor

Unfortunately there have been recent shootings at schools throughout the nation, and many people have tried to come up with ideas to prevent these shootings because of how it has affected many people in different ways. One idea that many people believe would be effective is the use of metal detectors. Although metal detectors might be able to detect many different weapons, and help prevent these shootings, there are many different cons to implementing this policy.

One such downside to using metal detectors is to have to check every single student in a school which would take an extremely long time to do so. According to the National Center for Education Statistics the average high school size across the United states is 752 students. This is in one school alone so there would have to be certain people doing this everyday which would take up time.

Another downside to using metal detectors is figuring out when we would have to use the metal detectors. The most likely choice would have to be in the morning when the students are arriving to school. This begs the question, would students have to come earlier or have to get checked during their morning classes which would take time out of their learning time? Students are in school for about six hours in which they learn multiple subjects, so they have very little time to waste on having to get checked for weapons.

Also how much would schools have to spend to buy metal detectors? According to the National Institute for Justice a stationary metal detector can cost anywhere from $1,000 to $30,000. Models in the $4,000 to $5,000 range typically offer features best suited for a school environment. That’s only for one of the metal detectors which leads to the question how many would a school need to purchase? Obviously if a school only had one it would take far too much time to check every student. 

The cost of the initial purchase of a metal detector is only a fraction of the total resources needed to operate it. If a school has, say, two walk through metal detectors side by side at the front entrance, they might need five people to be standing with the equipment. That includes someone in front of the machines telling people what to remove to mitigate false alarms, two bag checkers to search bags and pass them to the other side, and then typically someone behind each of the machines with a wand to conduct secondary screening if an alarm goes off when a person walks through the machines.

After taking all of this information into consideration schools should not implement metal detectors because they cost too much money, take away too much instructional time, and would require more personnel resources that logistically would be difficult to manage.