The Importance of Metal Detectors to Prevent School Violence

Although unfortunate, school violence and shootings are real threats that need to be addressed in schools throughout the United States. In the 2020-2021 school year, there were a total of 93 school shootings with casualties – the highest number since 2000-2001 (Bureau of Justice Statistics). Of course, there will never be a plan that is 100% effective against preventing school violence, but there are security solutions we can implement to minimize incidents and make schools a safe learning environment for children. One solution would be to use metal detectors in schools.

Benefits of School Metal Detectors

The main benefit of using metal detectors in schools is that they reduce the likelihood of staff and/or students being harmed by uncovering any concealed weapons before they enter the school. According to a 2019 study done by the CDC, “more than 7% of high school students had been threatened or injured with a weapon (for example, a gun, knife, or club) on school property” (CDC). If metal detectors were more widely used in schools, this figure could be significantly lowered since staff members would be able to identify any secret weapons right away and stop them from entering classrooms.

One reason why educators are hesitant to use metal detectors in schools is that they are worried that their presence will cause students to feel unsafe and trapped, like they’re in a prison. However, a 2019 study found that “about 5 percent of students ages 12-18 reported that they had been afraid of attack or harm at school during the school year, which is higher than the percentage of students (3 percent) who reported that they had been afraid of attack or harm away from school (NCES). If students feel more threatened at school than anywhere else, having metal detectors can help ease some of the fears because they will know that there are procedures and methods in place to prevent dangerous weapons being brought in.

2M Technology’s 2MWT-i24Z Indoor Walkthrough Metal Detector Gate with 24 Detection Zones

Another argument against the use of metal detectors in schools is that the inspection process may take too long and cut into precious learning time. However, many metal detector gates now, like ones available from 2M Technology, can scan up to 100 people per minute. The national average for the number of students per public school is about 526 students so scanning each student at maximum capacity will take about 6 minutes each day. For larger schools in urban areas, multiple metal detectors can be installed at various entrances to minimize long lines and reduce workloads. 2M Technology’s metal detector gates can be easily used by one person so that schools don’t have to stretch their minimal resources on hiring large security teams.

In addition to detecting large weapons, metal detector gates can be used to find small prohibited items, such as pocket knives or vapes. At 2M Technology, we carry metal detector gates that can be calibrated to detect any level of metallic items, from the smallest to the largest. This gives the school full control over what they want to detect and helps them minimize false alarms from non-threatening items, like coins or keys. Furthermore, our metal detector gates show the approximate location of the detected item so that staff members can search that specific area instead of having to waste time on full-body inspections.

Proper Training is Still the Best Deterrent

Even though metal detectors are a reasonable solution to curb school violence, they are not 100% fool-proof. Security equipment is only effective if the person handling it is well-trained so it’s imperative that schools invest in staff training when implementing metal detectors. But most importantly, schools should take the time to foster trusting relationships between their staff and students as the most common way of schools finding out about a weapon on campus is through students telling adults they trust.

If you would like more information on metal detector gates for your school, you can email our sales team or call us +1 866-708-5401.

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