Schools Still Determining How To Use Handheld Metal Detectors

Aug 8, 2018

North Lawrence Community Schools are among those still trying to determine how they’ll use the handheld metal detectors.
Credit Tyler Lake / WFIU/WTIU News

  As more than 350 Indiana school districts wait for handheld metal detectors to arrive from the state, many haven’t adopted policies outlining how they’ll use them.

The wands present some legal issues for schools, because their use has been challenged in other states before.

That’s why the Indiana School Boards Association sent sample policies to districts across the state.

The association recommends schools only use the wands on students when there’s reasonable suspicion that a student is carrying weapons, or for what’s called an administrative search. Those searches can’t single out certain groups and must be conducted at random.

“We gave them the option to say they can scan them when they come into the school and it might be every third child or every third student, or they could choose to do a random scan during the day,” says ISBA Staff Attorney Julie Slavens.

The guidance stipulates districts must have their policies in writing for using the metal detectors, and personnel should be trained on how to use them.

Slavens says they’re not advising districts to use the wands on every student who enters a school.