Looking through the Metal Detectors- What Metal Detectors would mean for Lakeside

Between 7:15 and 8:05 AM, over 2,000 Lakeside students

stand outside the main entrance doors in lines wrapped around the building, waiting to enter school. Many around the Lakeside community imagine this fate for their mornings following the installment of metal detectors. Last March, the Dekalb County School Board approved the Pilot Program to place metal detectors at five high schools in the school district, including Lakeside High School. The school district introduced the pilot program to parents on August 20, after Principal Damian Bounds emailed them a survey asking them to express their “invaluable input”. However, the previous approval of the program brings the weight of parent input into question. “As if me saying ‘no’ would make a difference, after the county has already spent thousands of dollars on these machines,” said concerned Lakeside parent Virginia Bernardin.

Regardless of how the county will use the survey responses, people who will actually be using the metal detectors

day in and day out haven’t had the chance to give their opinions. To address these concerns, we gave Lakeside

students a chance to express their thoughts and concerns by providing them with the same survey questions that

were given to parents.

------------------------------------------------------------

Trailing Behind!: Unlike the main building, the outdoor trailers will not have any sort of screening process to date, leaving them out of the Pilot Program.

------------------------------------------------------------

We asked 100 students to identify advantages and disadvantages the Pilot Program would pose as well as

their comments/concerns. The majority of the answers consisted of fewer weapons and safety as on of the biggest

advantages. Several responded “metal detectors would keep our school safer." On the other hand, the disadvantages

focused more on longer lines to get into school, having everyday items (belts, chromebooks, etc.) flagged, time, and

the cost. “This will decrease privacy and increase instructional time being wasted, you'll hear an alarm go off every

minute because of someone's binder or chromebook,” said one surveyed student.

The school board approved a budget of 150,000 dollars, not including trained personnel required to man

the machines, to spend on the program. The Dekalb Department of Public Safety chose Ackerman Security to supply

and place the Metal Detectors at Lakeside in March, 2019. 150,000 dollars is a hefty amount to spend on four metal

detectors in our school and leads one to wonder how the funding could be used more efficiently; investing in

protection that includes the trailers, for instance, allows all students the same level of safety, regardless of the

location of their classroom.“I always feel safer while inside the school, rather than being in the trailers, trailers have

less protection and are literally in open space, anyone can just walk up to the them.” said Junior Camille Betoulle.

Teachers will also endure the effects of the new metal detectors. “I’m just curious how it’s going to work;

there are students who stay after school for extracurricular activities that last as late as eight, and people coming into

school as early as 6:30,” said Lakeside Math Teacher Bridget Langan-Puckett.

The Lakeside administration has yet to announce how the school district selected our school for the

program, where students will wait to pass through metal detectors (weather not permitting), how delays in passing

through the detectors will impact first period instructional time, and many other concerns. Only time will tell if

Lakeside and Dekalb will utilize students’ and parents’ “invaluable input” when dealing with the logistical concerns

they will face this coming March.

The mission of the Legend is to report news responsibly, encourage innovation and creativity in newspapers, enhance close interaction of students, faculty, staff, and administration, and publish truthful articles to spark positive discussion and personal thought.

Contact us at thelakesidelegend@gmail.com 

3801 Briarcliff Road Atlanta, GA 30345