Could detecting metal stop weapons from getting into SC classrooms?

Updated: Mar. 8, 2018 at 6:02 PM EST
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COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - To keep your child safe at school, some hope to transform entrances with metal detectors and stop weapons from getting inside classrooms.

A group gathered on the State House steps on Thursday, to push devices at school doors and detect metal on anyone who enters; some state representatives want a bill to pass to create a study group to price metal detectors for schools in South Carolina.

"Metal detectors will be a measure of safety, not a solve-all, but a measure of safety that we need in all these schools in South Carolina," bill sponsor Rep. Wendell Gilliard (D- Charleston) says.

Some agree metal detectors are a good idea for ultimately safer classrooms. One parent and grandparent, Traci Fant, traveled to the State House from Greenville on Thursday, to support metal detectors being put in schools. Fant represents Freedom Fighters of the Upstate.

She says she attended schools with metal detectors.

"Being someone who grew up in a northern school, I always felt safe going to school. I never felt like my life was in danger," she says.

But some lawmakers, like Rep. Joshua Putnam (R- Anderson) have argued it could be costly, and give schools a prison feel. Fant disagrees.

"I went through a  metal detector. You saw all these elementary school kids go through the same metal detector I went through. I didn't see any of them look terrified. I didn't see any of them ask were they in prison," Fant says.

But not all parents agree metal detectors are necessary.

"Yeah to me I feel like it's unnecessary in a sense, because most of the time it's not the person that's in school, it's somebody coming into the school," Richland County grandparent Annette Hailey says.

"Those are things I think that can be secondary things that can be added on later. I think overall, again, we need to focus on the child their self- themselves- I think just have counseling, talk," Richland County parent Gregory Shaw says.

The governor is not against metal detectors, but he says it's not his priority. Instead, he wants school resource officers in all schools.

The bill, H. 4810,  that creates a study group for the detectors passed the House but hasn't been heard in the Senate yet.

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