IN schools receive metal detectors from state; many not yet in use

Metal detectors arrive at dozens of Indiana schools

SCOTTSBURG, IN (WAVE) - The state of Indiana's initiative for free, handheld metal detectors is beginning to distribute the wands to districts around the state.

But several districts are holding off on wanding students for now, and many don't plan on using them on all children as they enter school.

"It's not as simple as one wand, one person," Scott County Schools Superintendent Marc Slaton said.

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He explained students need to be wanded by a trained staffer of the same gender. If the wand beeps, a protocol must be followed.

"The student then needs to be taken to a private area, talked to and obviously, you have to see why it beeped and get to the bottom of it," Slaton said.

Now that the district has the handheld metal detector wands, they're putting together a plan on when they use them and how often, and what they do if they find something that beeps.

Neighboring districts are also putting together plans on how to use the detectors from the state.

Clarksville said it will use its four wands as an additional security tool as needed.

Greater Clark County applied for 41 wands but hasn't finalized a plan on how to use them.

New Albany Floyd County asked for 36 wands. They too are working on a plan to best put those to use.

North Harrison said it will use its eight detectors as needed, but don't plan to begin wanding on a large-scale.

South Harrison said they have used wands for "reasonable suspicion" searches. They plan to only use detectors in that manner for the time being. School leaders said they plan on revisiting the policy with the board in the next couple of months.

Slaton said they need to find a way to wand for potential threats, not everyday items like students' iPads and laptops.

"There's a lot of things metal detectors detect that are not weaponry," he said. "Odds are, those are going to beep, too."

The combination of wands with off-duty law enforcement on all campuses is dramatically improving safety. It's a first for the district.

"Response time is cut from minutes to seconds and that's huge," Slaton said. "We know in the event of a tragic crisis, the fact that we can get law enforcement officers on the scene saves lives."

The district is hoping to have a plan in place for the wands to begin use by the end of September - letting them use every tool they can to keep kids here safe.

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