HOUSTON – Some school districts, like the Santa Fe Independent School District, will, for the first time, have metal detectors to screen students who walk into their school, but many are wondering if they are effective in keeping students safe.
Much like an airport, walking through metal detectors is the norm for Aldine ISD students.
Metal detectors and staff members greet intermediate through high school students every morning.
It takes about 40 minutes for all of the students to shuffle in.
"Again, much like Minute Maid Park, they're going to have little containers where they're going to empty their pockets, put their items in their backpacks," Aldine ISD Assistant Superintendent Ken Knippel said.
The extra layer of security is now also being implemented at Santa Fe High School.
"This is an additional entry area that's been reconfigured to allow for metal detectors. Our metal detectors have been approved recently," Dr. Leigh Wall said.
But do metal detectors work?
Aldine ISD at one point had 24 illegal weapons brought to school in one year. The district installed more than a hundred metal detectors nearly a decade ago -- each costing about $4,500.
"We were concerned about the number. Once we instituted this, it dropped dramatically," Knippel said.
The average number of weapons each year eventually dropped to two, if any at all.
"There's not one student that enters this building that doesn't interact with staff first thing in the morning," Knippel said.
Lead school designers, like PBK's Richard Chi, said the appearance of metal detectors may be offputting to some.
"They want the school to not look like a prison," Chi said.
While they work to integrate security and style and some schools scour for funds and staffing, PBK said that metal detectors are just a layer of security.
"A lot of people think different ways on it, but in my opinion it would be a good idea," Santa Fe High School parent Debbie Schuelke said.