As weapons appear on campuses, school district considers installing metal detectors at every high school
Aegis Editorial Board
How would you feel if Oakland High installed metal detectors next year? This is the source of an interesting district-wide debate among the higher-ups of the OUSD. The idea is still up in the air and “not certain,” according to Oakland High assistant principal Anisa Rasheed.
The idea of metal detectors has come up in OHS staff meetings due to numerous incidents at Oakland High in which students have brought guns, knives, and other dangerous weapons to the school. There are already schools in California and other with metal detectors. However, installing detectors may be difficult since there are many entrances and exits at Oakland High.
English teacher Lizzy Vlasses had experience working at a school with metal detectors when she taught at Roosevelt High School in Chicago. There were walk-through metal detector gates and a security conveyor belt for students’ bags because, “the school is located in an area where there are a lot of gangs and a history of violence,” said Vlasses in an email. Vlasses said that the detectors was funded by the city of Chicago, and students were required to use only use two entrances with security guards watching them, but teachers were excused and used the parking lot entrance to the campus.
The Aegis strongly supports the idea of metal detectors at OHS, because they will help prevent violence in the school and lower the worries of parents, teachers, and students.
However, there are some problems with installing metal detectors at the school. Some argue that detectors will invade the students’ privacy and that they will cost the school money that could be used for something else. For instance, the money could be used to fund field trips, textbooks, and hiring new teachers. Students don’t want people snooping into their packs because their bags belong to them and represent their own world outside from school.
These concerns are important, but the school district should save student lives, not money. Due to the many lockdowns and dangerous incidents at Oakland High this school year, students have lost the right to privacy around what they bring to school.
Rasheed said that she’s open to the idea of metal detectors, but wouldn’t stop there. She also wants sniffing dogs to intimidate students who try to bring weapons, and metal detector wands.
Vlasses also supports the idea of having metal detectors. “I think that having metal detectors would help our school to be a safe place where teachers and students could focus on learning!,” she wrote.
We would like to see students involved in the discussion about metal detectors. We students deserve to have our opinions expressed to the school district. Senior student Joel Regalado said, “I think we should have metal detectors, because someone might bring weapons to school and hurt somebody.”
Metal detectors are needed to help prevent more dangerous situations from coming into the school. Sure we may sacrifice our privacy and funds, but we would rather have security than violence at the school.