In an effort to combat a growing problem with weapons being taken to school, some Baltimore schools are considering having metal detectors installed. In my opinion, this is not the right solution to the problem.
Metal Detectors at Baltimore Schools Will Create a False Sense of Security
The problem of violence in Baltimore schools is a complicated one. Installing metal detectors may make some people feel more secure, but it is nothing more than a false sense of security. If you stop to think about it, there are any number of items already in the school itself that can be used as a weapon.
Should plastic knives and forks be banned from Baltimore schools because someone may use them to stab a fellow student or a teacher? Why not chain all the chairs to the floor in case someone picks one up and throws it? Maybe we should stop offering shop classes at any Baltimore schools because the tools could be used to commit a violent act?
Involve Students in Finding a Solution to Violence in Baltimore Schools
Instead of installing metal detectors in Baltimore schools, a better way to approach the problem would be to deal with incidents as they occur. Call in the police for help, if that is what is required, but don't treat all students as if they are would-be criminals who need to be screened before entering the building.
If there is a problem with kids in Baltimore schools thinking they need to arm themselves in order to feel safe, then address that issue. Nobody takes a weapon to school for no reason; it's up to staff members at Baltimore schools to be on the lookout for kids who are being picked on or having trouble fitting in. Fellow students need to be reminded that they are all part of the Baltimore schools’ community and that everyone can play a part in making their schools a safer place to learn.
If violence in Baltimore schools is more likely to happen when students don't feel connected to the school community at large, then let's put a plan in place to change that. The time to take action against violence in Baltimore schools is before a student makes the decision to arm themselves to deal with a problem. There is always a better way to solve an issue than by resorting to violence.
Baltimore schools can and should play a part in dealing with the problem of violence among students. If the only solution that administrators can come up with is to install metal detectors, then that is a temporary fix. It may be the easy way to deal with it, but it certainly is not the best way.
Patricia Hawke is a staff writer for Schools K-12, providing free, in-depth reports on all U. S. public and private K-12 schools. For more information please visit Baltimore County Public Schools