Do you really know how safe your children are when they enter their school?
On March 28, the Philadelphia school board voted to mandate that all city high schools use metal detectors to screen students. Currently, there are 49 high schools that use metal detectors and only three that do not. While many students are not in favor of the policy, I think it is a good idea.
I am a senior at Strawberry Mansion High School. I’ve been at Mansion since the start of my sophomore year and have attended Philadelphia district schools since kindergarten. I have attended schools that use metal detectors, and I believe they make a positive impact.
In this day and age, we are faced with many violent incidents that feel as if they take place on a daily basis. We have in particular seen the rise of school shootings and intruders in school buildings. As a student who goes through a metal detector every day as part of our school’s safety procedure, I’ve grown to understand why it is important. The metal detectors are not there to make us feel as if we’re being policed but to keep us out of harm’s way.
During my freshman year, I saw that protection work firsthand. I experienced a situation where a student tried to take a weapon into my school. Luckily, under the metal detector policy, our school identified the weapon. The student was later taken to the office and held until police arrived.
Some of my classmates believe the school board’s decision reflects a lack of trust in students. But really, this is a matter of safety. Being proactive is key nowadays and is the only way to ensure safety. It’s imperative to give students the best possible learning environment to make sure they are getting a quality education. It’s not so much a distrust of the students, but a distrust of outsiders who could potentially cause harm entering a school. Screenings are not just done to students — anyone who wishes to enter the school has to walk through detectors. That’s what makes this policy fair and effective: no exceptions. Everyone must go through the scanners.
I know some students think nothing dangerous would ever happen in their school. I thought the same thing — until I saw someone get caught with a weapon. There is no definite way to prevent incidents in anyone’s school, but metal detectors are one step toward that reassurance.
Precautions also should not be limited to school — they should begin at home. I feel that parents are not always involved enough in their teen’s personal life and surroundings. Parents have to start asking the necessary questions, like “How is your day going?” or “Is there anything troubling you that I should know?,” despite how difficult asking can be. Try to get a little more sense of who your children really are as people and what makes them tick. Investing more of your time in their lives can not only show them that you care but also make them feel more open about asking for advice. I know that as teens, we battle many emotions and can sometimes act on impulse.
Both inside and outside our schools, I believe a common ground must be made for this new policy to work. Otherwise students will give their schools a difficult time going through scanners. In time I hope my peers adjust to the new rules set in place and realize the important safety role the metal detectors play.
Kevin Davis is a senior at Strawberry Mansion High School and an aspiring journalist.