Lakeside Selected for School Safety Pilot Program: School to Receive Four Entrance Metal Detectors

DeKalb County School District selected Lakeside High School and its projected 2,100 students to join four other schools in a pilot program to place 20 walkthrough metal detectors throughout the district.

In a survey of 107 students over half thought security was something to address at Lakeside, but there were many questions raised about the practicality and logistics of metal detectors at LHS. One recurring question was where the metal detectors would go at Lakeside. There are over 20 entrances at Lakeside and some students felt that the placement of the detectors would not change security situation at Lakeside, but possibly make it worse. “If this program does actually make it to the fall, I think people in the trailers are going to have a harder time because if they have to go the through the detector every time they go inside, they could be late just for trying to get to class,” said junior Marissa Bryce.

According to the National Criminal Justice Reference Service (NCJRS), if a student prepares to go through the detector and their items don’t trigger it, the average processing time is less than ten seconds. On the other hand, if a student does not prepare to walk through, the processing time can range

from three to five minutes.

This does not delay of waiting to be scanned or the possibility of a student’s items triggering the metal detectors. When freshman Jamie Scott saw this data he said, “I don’t believe Lakeside’s safety will improve from these metal detectors. This just feels like a quick response to safer schools instead of planning out a more elaborate response to a big issue.”

The district decided to implement these changes at the beginning of the second semester when an individual brought a gun to Martin Luther King Jr. High School in January. According to an interview with WSB-TV, Deputy School Superintendent Vasanne Tinsley said the district realized change was necessary after the nation had at least 15 school-related gun incidents since the start of 2018. The schools received upgraded security systems and cameras. They enhanced web filters for DCSD technology to alert district officials if a Google searches involves words that pose a threat to the school environment. Some trigger words for the filter include bombs, suicide, murder, guns, and kill. Future school buildings may include roll-down doors that will help to increase security if a non-authorized individual enters the school premises.

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It’s Time for a Check: DeKalb Schools Police has hired two K-9 units to improve school safety. They have performed three random searches in DeKalb this year, including one at Lakeside in January.

Photo courtesy of: WSB-TV

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The district will start the program in the fall by placing 4 metal detectors at one high school site per region. Cross Keys High School (Region 1), Stone Mountain High School (Region 3), Martin Luther King Jr. High School (Region 4) and Towers High School (Region 5) will also participate in the program. The program will cost the school district $150,000 and the schools for each region were chosen by instances of weapons, drugs, fights, and gang activity.

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