Metal detectors not feasible for new high school


Reporter - Elizabeth Fields
Photojournalist - Mason Watkins

MCCRACKEN COUNTY, Ky. - After a McCracken County school board member called for a feasibility study to take a closer look at the use of metal detectors at the new high school, the committee found that walk-though metal detectors aren't the best option.

District Safety Officer Larry Zacheretti told WPSD it came down to time, not money.

"It was pretty plain to see due to the time constraints, if you will, it just wasn't feasible," he said. He added that among the committee members, several security officers from the McCracken County courthouse came to the same conclusion.

On average an efficient metal detector and operator can pass 350 people through it a day. So getting more than 1,800 students plus teachers though on a daily basis would be almost impossible unless they came hours early.

 Two parents on the committee agreed and felt that armed officers would actually make them feel better than metal detectors. Todd Belt will have a senior at the new high school next year and said the more he thought about it, the more he thinks officers discourage others better than detectors.

 "I can tell you we're already ahead of the curve on the number of student resource officers that we have in our district and we plan on keeping that increase up as well," said Zacheretti. He said that there will be three to five armed officers at the new high school at any given time and will only be assigned to watching over the Mustangs.

Also keeping an eye out, more than 100 security cameras. Parents and community leaders agree, especially after the Boston bombings, surveillance can be a crucial key to a safe environment.

In addition to seeing more, Zacheretti hopes he and the officers will learn more, too, from an updated incident reporting system. The current system allows students to phone in safety concerns and leave a message for officers to get later.

"Kids can now text, email, or tweet security concerns," he said. Those concerns are monitored 24 hours a day.

Once Belt found out about that, the locked door systems, and the hand-held metal detector wands, he said he feels like the school is one of the safest places he could send his son and he hopes the other parents feel the same way.