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School Test Runs Metal Detectors for Upcoming Years

Chief Rowden leads training exercises to ensure student safety.
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Graphic by Will Gaffey and Zoie Carlile

On Jan. 11, the school had a test run of newly purchased metal detectors that will be implemented sporadically throughout years to come.

To help keep the students more safe, new metal detectors were bought by the district, and have been used once. They are planned to be used sporadically in the future.

“[The metal detectors are] weapons detection systems, and right now we’re evaluating them and doing training,” Chief of Police Mark Rowden said.

They were used for the first time during the first and second period.

“Before detectors could actually be permanent, we had to train on it, so somebody from the company came in and they taught us how to use them,” principal Jeremy Gilbert said. “Then the next step of the training was then to actually put them out and use them.”

The training was not just to teach the security guards, but also to help students adapt to the potential use of detectors in the future.

“I hope the students will treat the metal detectors as something normal, because this is nothing different than if you go to a [Mavericks] game or Stars game or a Cowboys game,” assistant principal Troy Gray said.

The future of the metal detectors is undetermined. The only information available is that they will return for short training periods throughout the school years.

“[Whether or not] they will become a permanent fixture within HPISD at any one location, that’s yet to be determined,” Rowden said.

Rowden explains that the process will take some time to get used to. Still, he believes the training exercises provide important experience.

“In the beginning it’s gonna be a little difficult, but as we get better at it, things will become a lot more smooth,” Rowden said.

Unlike metal detectors in airports where guests must empty all liquids and electronics, students will only have to remove their laptops from their bags.

“What we want is for students to be able to come through the entrance with their laptop or Chromebook out prepared to hand to whoever’s there at the instrument,” Rowden said.

Rowden explains the school’s objective in taking these measures is to prioritize students’ well being and ensure that everything in the building stays secured.

“The main goal here is to be minimal, so [the security is] not invasive,” Rowden said. “[The metal detectors] are there to help people feel safe . It just takes everybody getting acclimated to the utilization of that equipment and everybody going through it.”

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