Do Metal Detectors Belong in School?


Hillsborough County School Board proposes implementing metal detectors in schools for safety but will these machines really help or cause more harm? Few schools around the country have added metal detectors so the outcomes have yet to be determined. Photo courtesy of

The issue of implementing metal detectors in schools has been a controversy in numerous school districts. Multiple people believe they’re helpful in security issues, when to others, it makes them feel like criminals. The argument is heavy with students as well, not just the administration and parents in Hillsborough County.

The fourth amendment protects people from unreasonable searches and seizures by the government, so is adding metal detector searches to schools violating that right? With Hillsborough County debating adding metal detector searches to the school day, it seems as though it will not only violate our rights but raise fear for students and parents.

On the other hand, with the possibility of metal detectors being enforced on school campuses, schools get a step closer toward a safer environment. Metal detectors can come in many shapes and sizes, but the idea behind them is to stop a tragic event from happening.

There’s been many instances when having heavy enforcement of metal detectors has had a negative effect on young people. In 2021, news sources reported on a 12-year-old girl in Washington DC, who told them she began her day being flanked by law enforcement. Although this incident happened almost two years ago, many sympathize with the girl and are against metal detectors now. She’s only in middle school, yet she’s made to feel like a criminal.

Do Metal Detectors Belong in School?


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In the grand scheme of things, is this distaste for metal detectors more important than safety within schools? There do happen to be metal detector designs that are very subtle for use in schools, and don’t look like typical ones that would be found in airports, since no one wants to go into a school that feels like prison. Most schools in the U.S. do not use metal detectors at all. Although, there was a study done proving the decrease of students reported carrying a weapon – 7.8 versus 13.8 percent – all while in the presence of metal detectors.

With schools thinking about investing in metal detectors they also need to think about where they’re going to get the funding from. Many schools are already struggling financially, and on the Hillsborough County school’s website, it reads they were going to be putting six million dollars into the school security accounts but having this protection in only a few schools is nearly pointless unless they were included in all of Hillsborough County’s schools. While safety is a priority, most schools in the county could benefit from putting the money elsewhere such as new computers, fixing up the broken bathrooms, and even raising teachers’ salaries.

The arguments over whether Hillsborough County should install metal detectors will be a never-ending debate but knowing both the good and bad about the idea is beneficial to anyone who’s part of the school system.