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Why some public school districts didn't ask for handheld metal detectors

Devices aimed at improving school security
Posted at 10:42 AM, Jul 25, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-25 19:03:28-04

INDIANAPOLIS – More than a dozen public school districts did not request handheld metal detectors under a new statewide program announced July 9, records show.

At least 18 public school districts did not ask for the devices, which are aimed at improving school safety across the state.

Schools are eligible to receive one metal detector, at no cost, for every 250 students.

On the list of school districts who did not request metal detectors is Monroe County Community School Corporation, School Town of Speedway, and the West Lafayette Community School Corporation.

“We have not ordered them at this time,” said Judith DeMuth, superintendent of the Monroe County Community School Corporation. “We are continuing to research that possibility. We do not currently have metal detectors.” 

The 3,228 devices requested in this first round have been ordered and should arrive in schools in August, according to the governor’s office.

Schools that did not place an order will have another opportunity later this fall.

Speedway schools superintendent Ken Hull says they already have metal detectors.

“We thought it more important for others who did not possess the detectors to have the first opportunity to receive them,” said Hull in an email. “We may make a request when the second opportunity arises, but only if need exists. We strive to be frugal when it comes to spending money - local money or state money.”

West Lafayette Community School Corporation Superintendent Rocky Killion says its school resource officers already can check students when necessary.

Records show these 18 public school districts did not request metal detectors:

  • Benton CSC, Benton Co
  • Cannelton City Schools, Perry Co
  • Decatur County Community Schools, Decatur Co
  • East Gibson School Corp, Gibson Co
  • Fort Wayne Community Schools, Allen Co
  • Fremont Community Schools, Steuben Co
  • Knox CSC, Starke Co
  • Monroe Co CSC, Monroe Co
  • North Daviess Community Schools, Daviess Co
  • North Knox School Corp, Knox Co
  • North Putnam Comm Schools, Putnam Co
  • North Spencer CSC, Spencer Co
  • Northwest Allen Co Schools, Allen Co
  • Portage Twp Schools, Porter Co
  • School Town of Speedway, Marion Co
  • South Spencer Co School Corp, Spencer Co
  • Valparaiso Community Schools, Porter Co
  • West Lafayette Community School Corp, Tippecanoe Co

Governor Eric Holcomb said as of Monday, more than 3,000 handheld metal detectors had already been requested by 369 different school entities - 94 percent of all traditional public school corporations. 

"I am pleased so many of our schools have chosen to request these metal detectors," Holcomb said. "This program is all about giving local school leaders one more resource at their disposal to include in their safety plans."

Indiana has taken other steps in the past year to give schools more resources for school safety, including the following in the 2018 legislative session:

  • Made $35 million in low-interest loans available to schools to increase school safety through the Indiana Common School Fund. Applications may be found on the Indiana Department of Homeland Security website.
  • Provided an additional $5 million to support school safety grants recently approved through IDHS. Those grants, more than $14 million in total, will be put to use for school resource officers, safety equipment, and threat assessments.
  • Dedicated $1 million to support a full audit of school safety plans around the state.

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