Student leaders want Boston high schools to screen students better for weapons, given last week’s gunfire in a high school and the recent spike in youth violence in the city, the Boston Globe reports. The school district requires 15 of the city’s 38 high schools to screen every student daily with walk-through metal detectors, but only half of the schools with detectors check every teenager daily. Several use the detectors only on randomly picked days. Members of the Boston Student Advisory Council, a group of 50 students representing high schools across the city, want high schools to use the detectors consistently and follow the district’s rule of checking every student.
Too often when a metal detector beeps, students say, they are ushered through without further searches. They report seeing knives dropped during class or accidentally pulled out in the cafeteria when students reach into pockets for lunch money. ”[School officials] say, ‘We’re so safe. Nothing can get by us.’ But people are bringing in BB guns. They’re bringing in knives. It’s crazy,” said Tara Jackson, 17. ”If we put them in, we expect them to be used,” said a school official about walk-through detectors. ”[Some headmasters] still have not accepted the fact that we put them in there. I’m sure they cheat.” Boston’s headmasters, like high school principals nationwide, say they are trying to keep schools safe without turning them into prisons. Boston’s approach of installing detectors in trouble spots mirrors what the 100 largest school systems do, says the National School Safety Center in Westlake Village, Ca.