Consensus Statement

Consensus Statement on Metal Detectors, Arming of Teachers, and Marshals in Schools

The team of volunteers explored the use of metal detectors, the arming of teachers, and the solicitation of marshals with concealed handgun licenses. The group came to a wide consensus that these measures, at this time, would shift CCISD from a nurturing learning environment to one synonymous with a penitentiary. The committee does not recommend these options.

The group found research and evidence that metal detectors would not stop a motivated shooter nor do they effectively detect weapons. A 2015 TSA study found a fail rate of 95 percent with high-quality equipment, full-time and trained screeners, and intensive support personnel. Safe Havens International Director Michael Dorn said, "Properly funded and run metal detection programs can be quite effective in reducing the risk of the more common types of weapons violence in schools (gangrelated violence, etc.) but it is much harder to dissuade a determined attacker who is willing to risk death or who plans to kill himself or herself."

The group participated in a case study of the metal detection program at Davis High School in the Aldine Independent School District. They found the screening process takes up to 45 minutes for a school population of 2,500. Teachers and campus staff operate 12 detection sites because by law, police officers cannot conduct searches without probable cause. The group felt the length of time students wait outside to go through the detectors would create a secondary safety hazard.

 The group and district staff intentionally sought evidence to indicate that metal detectors are effective in the prevention of gun violence and could not identify a source. One comprehensive study by the Journal of School Health concluded, "There is insufficient data in the literature to determine whether the presence of metal detectors in schools reduces the risk of violent behavior among students, and some research suggests that the presence of metal detectors may detrimentally impact student perceptions of safety."

The group discussed whether a metal detector program would also include after-school activities and evening events such as band concerts, basketball games, open houses, recognizing the absence of an active metal detector would allow persons to bring and intentionally hide weapons to use at a later time. For these reasons, the CCISD School Safety Committee does not recommend the installation of metal detectors inside schools based on evidence of significant fail rates of weapon detection, secondary safety issues for students waiting outside, and the redirection of campus teachers and staff time to operate metal detectors every day.

The committee reviewed the state regulations over the Guardian Plan, a program that allows schools to have staff carry weapons on campus, and the Marshal Plan, a program where citizens can serve as armed personnel in a school setting. The group did not feel state regulations provide for the appropriate vetting, psychological examination, or training of guardians or marshals.

In the end, the committee felt adding 15 additional police officers, 15 student support counselors, enhancing training and prevention techniques, and improving security systems would provide a far more stronger shield than metal detectors, guardians and marshals. The school district, through a similar or follow-up committee, should continue to explore safety improvements on a regular and consistent basis.


Respectfully submitted,

Henry Gonzalez, Committee Co-Chair
Richard Rennison, Committee Co-Chair
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