Several mayors in Palm Beach County came before the school board Wednesday, asking the district to install metal detectors in every school for the safety of students.
“There’s no limit to safety,” said Mayor Thomas Masters of Riviera Beach. “Anybody can take a gun and go shoot into a school.”
Masters was joined by the mayors of Belle Glade, Boynton Beach and Mangonia Park. The group is spearheading a petition to put metal detectors in every school. So far the petition has garnered more than 100 signatures online.
Metal detectors at schools
Mayors in Palm Beach County want the school district to put a metal detector in every school.
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During the meeting Superintendent Wayne Gent also announced that the district would interview and assign police aids to schools that don't have a single-entry access point. He said the new measure would be effective immediately and impact less than three dozen schools.
He didn't comment on whether the district would consider installing metal detectors.
The mayors argued that facilities such as airports, court rooms and even the school board building had metal detectors.
"Children's lives are just as important," Masters said.
No school in the district utilizes metal detectors though hand-held detectors are often used at large sporting events.
Board member Karen Brill, however, said “metal detectors in our schools are not the answer.”
She made the case for additional mental health and mentorship programs.
But as the district undergoes a comprehensive review of its security procedures, Nat Harrington, spokesperson for the district said "everything was on the table."
Other board members did not directly address the installation of metal detectors but argued the need to work collaboratively with municipalities and the county to come up with solutions and a way to fund them.
The mayors didn't provide estimates for how much the metal detectors would cost but acknowledged the district was struggling with budgetary constraints.
Masters said he'd lobby state officials if need be to foot the bill.
Pastor Mark D Boykin of Boca Raton, strongly advocated for the metal detectors and said this was something that was "non-negotiable."
"We must set a course of action that includes extreme measures," he said, adding that he was willing to take the request to the public in the form of a referendum if it didn't pass.
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