Metal Detector

NEW ALBANY, Ind. (WDRB) -- Metal detectors are now inside every public school in New Albany.

New Albany Floyd County Schools received the new equipment last month. There is one metal detector wand for every 250 students.

"We don't want to feel like a prison," NAFCS Superintendent Dr. Brad Snyder said. "We don't want to become militaristic, but we want people to know that we're serious about school safety."

Snyder said schools haven't used the wands yet, but he expects they will sometime this semester.

"We're anxious to see what happens," Snyder said.

Last summer, Gov. Eric Holcomb offered free metal detectors to any school district in the state. New Albany Floyd County accepted the offer and passed a new policy late last year.

The wands were handed out last month.

Snyder said one of the challenges with the wands is the community's varying opinions on their appropriateness.

"I get email from citizens who really, really want us using this instrument on their children and on their grandchildren. They're for us wanding students," Snyder said. "At the same time, I have a number of emails from people who are concerned about the over-policing of the schools and due process and invasion of privacy."

Local law enforcement trained all 60 school administrators on how to use the wands. Those principals are the ones who can use them at their discretion. The policy allows them to search students for reasonable suspicion or at random.

"Like a lottery type of thing," explained Snyder. "Or every sixth student who gets off the bus or every tenth student who walks through the door."

Whether or not the wands make schools safer, Snyder said it's too early to tell.

"It's better to have the tool than not have the tool, but until the tool proves itself across time, I really can't answer that question," he said.

Snyder said the best way to keep schools safe is if students or parents know or see something suspicious, to report it to police and administrators.

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