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The Torch

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Junior+Joey+Dannunzio+walks+through+the+metal+detector+on+his+way+to+class.+
Junior Joey D’annunzio walks through the metal detector on his way to class.

The newest and arguably most controversial addition to Olympic Heights is our brand new metal detectors. Every morning, every student needs to take their laptop or chromebook out of their backpacks, scan their ID, take their backpacks off their backs and put them onto the front of their body before walking through the detector.  

Safety measures were integrated throughout the year at OH, first beginning with simply flashing your ID to someone at the door, which then progressed into scanning the barcode on your ID

OH students raise their computers above their heads and put their backpacks in the front to walk through the metal detectors.

into a system on a laptop. Soon after, the metal detectors were set up at the main mall entrance and student parking lot entrances; however, at first they were not turned on in order to allow students to “practice” and get used to having to take out any big metal items in their bags, including computers, three-ringed binders, and Stanley water bottles, and flip their backpacks around. 

On April 8th, the metal detectors were turned on and put into full effect. On this day, the line to get into the building through the main entrance wrapped around the school at one point, and added about 10 extra minutes to get through the line to enter campus. Many students were initially tardy to class the first few days after the metal detectors were installed. 

Students scan IDs and then walk through the metal detectors once they arrive on campus.

Metal detectors are nothing new to Palm Beach county, as Olympic Heights was one of the last schools to have them installed. The first of which were John I. Leonard High School, Palm Beach Lakes Community High School, Palm Beach Gardens Community High School, and Seminole Ridge Community High School in a pilot program. Following the success of the initial four schools in the pilot phase, metal detectors were installed in an additional four schools. According to Michael Burke, the superintendent of Palm Beach County School District, the goal from the beginning was to have the detectors installed in every high school in the district. This statement was backed by the fact that 75 metal detectors had been bought and over $2 million dollars were pledged to buy and install these detectors. 

The introduction of the detectors has brought up questions about their efficacy, and whether or not they are really necessary. On one hand, it can be a hassle for students to have to take multiple things out of their backpack and put it in the front, scan their ID, go through the detector and hope it doesn’t go off, and have to put all their stuff back afterwards. “It takes so long!” said Elena Aurigemma, Olympic Heights junior. “I’m [always] late to class!” If the detector does go off, students need to have their bag searched and may even be asked to go through the detector a second time – which can make them late to their class, possibly giving them a tardy. It can also be argued that the metal detectors can be easily avoided and are a superficial defense to the possibility of a firearm getting onto the school campus. 

On the other hand, the possibility for a potential threat to be stopped before it can go badly is enough for many people, including the school board of PBCSD, to believe they may be a necessary evil. “Our schools are safer as a result of these devices. The equipment is first-rate, it’s working, (and) we’re not having glitches,” Superintendent Burke stated at a meeting about the metal detectors. In addition, even if the metal detectors themselves may not be effective as the school board hopes, just the presence of them can be enough to deter a student or outsider from bringing a weapon, or even other contraband items to school, on the chance that it can be caught by the metal detectors. 

So the question is still raised: Do you think metal detectors are a waste of time and school budget, or are they necessary for the safety of our students and teachers at OH?

Metal detectors at high schools in Palm Beach County:

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  • J

    Julia Andrade XavierMay 23, 2024 at 11:20 am

    As annoying as the metal detectors might be, they’re installed for good reason. Great article!

    Reply
  • J

    JulieMay 21, 2024 at 6:22 pm

    I agree with the installation of metal detectors! It may be time consuming but safety of staff and students should always come first and foremost.

    Reply
  • A

    alexaMay 21, 2024 at 11:44 am

    This was very informational, even if i personally do not like the metal detectors.

    Reply
  • T

    Tori ScaglioneMay 21, 2024 at 11:38 am

    Great article, I think the metal detectors make it difficult to get to class on time but I understand it’s important for safety.

    Reply
  • A

    angelinaa magnayeMay 21, 2024 at 11:27 am

    I think the metal detectors are time-consuming but necessary, great article.

    Reply
  • J

    Jacob UMay 21, 2024 at 11:26 am

    Great Article! Very informative and shows both sides of the argument.

    Reply
  • S

    Skylar CuenotMay 21, 2024 at 11:25 am

    very interesting read, well written too!

    Reply
  • A

    AvaMay 21, 2024 at 11:23 am

    Great article! Enjoyed reading.

    Reply
  • M

    Madison KlaperMay 21, 2024 at 11:22 am

    I dislike the metal detectors. It makes it twice as difficult to get to class on time. I understand it is important for safety but if they are going to bring metal detectors to the school, they need to be less strict about tardiness,

    Reply
  • S

    SophiaMay 21, 2024 at 11:21 am

    This is a really great article.

    Reply
  • A

    Auryanna floresMay 21, 2024 at 11:21 am

    I think it’s good to have security.

    Reply
  • H

    HayleyMay 21, 2024 at 11:21 am

    Glad there is security like this.

    Reply
  • S

    SantiagoMay 21, 2024 at 11:21 am

    Very interesting and informative article

    Reply
  • A

    AriMay 21, 2024 at 11:20 am

    crazy that we need these now

    Reply
  • J

    Jacob YaciukMay 21, 2024 at 11:20 am

    I like that you added a poll to the end of the story.

    Reply