Duval County Schools to add 2 portable metal detectors to high schools

Duval County School Board members approved the type of metal detector that will be used next year inside 22 high schools.

They are portable and can be set up or moved to another location within minutes.

Every high school in the district will have two – but the district said students won’t walk through them every day.

School Board members said they’ll only be used if there’s a bomb or school threat.

“It will only be used when our police department, the school’s police department, has determined that there’s a credible threat they can’t clear up,” Paula Wright, chairperson of the Duval County School Board, said.

"I think it's a great idea!" Mahleek Jennys told Action News Jax.

One alternative high school will also receive new, permanent metal detectors, to replace the ones that are no longer operating properly.

As a new parent, Jennys told Action News Jax Courtney Cole he thinks they're necessary.

"I've got a new child so I want him to be safe when he goes to school,” said Jennys.

The father told me his high school, Lone Star High, had metal detectors when he attended.

Jennys said he believes it helps to discourage students from trying to bring weapons to school.

“It'll be less likely for someone to want to bring it to school if you know that it's going to be stops before you even get inside,” said Jennys.

Wright told Action News Jax that the metal detectors won’t be limited to the high schools.

“If there’s something happening, let’s say at a middle school, we will also have an opportunity to use those metal detectors,” she said.

Action News Jax Courtney Cole asked Michael P. Edwards, the Director of Duval County School Police, why they won't use them on a daily basis.

Director Edwards said it's just not feasible.

“When you look at the staff that will be needed to do this on a daily basis, the staffing from our perspective just a little bit too much, too many people needed for just an hour a day,” said Director Edwards.

Some question if metal detectors are really the most effective solution.

Director Edwards says research and collaboration with school principals and staff led them to this solution, along with a previous incident at a school he did not name.

“We hope we never have to deploy these walk through metal detectors at school. What indicates to me is that we're not receiving threats to our schools, we're not receiving threats to students,” Director Edwards told Action News Jax.

The school will be receiving almost $4 million from the state to fund the metal detectors.

The plan is to start placing the metal detectors inside the 22 high schools sometime in 2019.