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HCCSC to receive 17 metal detectors

by Andrew Maciejewski - amaciejewski@h-ponline.com

Huntington County Community School Corporation should receive 17 handheld metal detectors by mid to late August, but administrators aren’t sure how they’ll be used.

Nearly 95 percent of public school corporations applied for Gov. Eric Holcomb’s offer to make metal detecting wands available, at no cost, and HCCSC is one of 369 corporations that will receive up to one metal detector for every 250 students in a school.

With an influx of more than 3,000 metal detectors being spread across the state, administrators and board members are left with questions about privacy, policy and personnel.

“I think it’s very nice that we have the security equipment available to us,” HCCSC Superintendent Randy Harris said. “I’m not too sure how much this was all thought out though, just from the standpoint that there’s going to be some training involved. If we use all of the wands, that would mean we would need additional personnel to do that.”

In order to use the devices, there are many setbacks.

The school board must pass a policy, and Indiana School Board Association requires that the policy must be distributed to all students and parents and be placed in the student handbook.

Under Indiana Code, schools may search students when they have met the reasonable suspicion standard or if they create a policy that randomly scans students, which could include searching every student or possibly searching every ten students etc.

Harris said the board will review ISBA’s recommendations, research policies and discuss the topic before they pass their policy

“I think it will help us to a degree, but it obviously does not make everything 100 percent safe by having the metal detector wands,” Harris said. “But it gives us one more level of safety and security that we don’t have before receiving those, so it just kind of adds to our ability to provide greater safety for our students.”

Other ISBA recommended requirements included:

A person of the same sex as the student being searched must conduct the search.

The search must be conducted under the supervision of the school administrator.

The wand may not touch the student’s body during the search.

If metal is found, students must remove the object. If they refuse, the person searching the student must take them to a private area and pat them down, but once the metal object is found, the search should stop.