I felt confusion and shock upon walking through the student entrance at Francis Lewis High School on Monday morning. A new week marked a new policy: Metal detectors. As I noticed police officers lining the entrance, I was asked to remove my bag and walk through a machine mainly used at airports, and places with heightened security.
Francis Lewis participated in New York City’s random scanning program, where city schools are subjected to one day of metal detectors, with the goal of increasing school safety.
“I expect that it is going to cause delay, but it will be a one time event,” Principal Dr. Marmor said.
According to www1.nyc.gov, “These scanning devices detect weapons and dangerous instruments such as firearms, knives, and box cutters. The scanners will be temporarily installed in schools throughout the City without prior announcement.”
Other schools in New York City have permanent scanning programs and students today felt exactly what it was like to be in a school with this policy.
“There were a bunch of security guards outside,” senior Abhishek Gaba said. “I didn’t feel violated. I felt like it was a right to secure the school. If you have nothing to hide, you shouldn’t be scared.”
Advanced security took precautions to make sure everyone reached their class safely, but unfortunately in some cases not on time.
“I felt like I was at the airport,” junior Joshua Pimentel said. “It delayed my process of getting to class on time.”
The random scan also grabbed the attention of teachers, reminding them of the importance of school safety throughout the years.
“No one was made aware of scanning, it reminded me of when I was in high school,” English teacher Ms. Jackman said. “Whatever keeps everyone safe, you have to do what you have to do.”
New York City public schools first installed metal detectors in the early 1990s as a response to the increasing crime rate in certain schools. Most of these metal detectors are still in place even though crime in public schools has fallen 48 percent in the past 11 years (www.propublica.org).
“I believe that our school is always safe and that the kids are good,” Dr. Marmor said. “We don’t need metal detectors to keep our school safe.”