School board divided over metal detector usage - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Nick Kenney

School board divided over metal detector usage

The mayor promised hundreds of new metal detectors and half a million dollars, too. But specifics of his new school security plan rely upon a school board divided.

On Wednesday, Kenneth Whalum suggested closing all schools.

A day later, he did not back down.

"Anything short of daily metal detector use at every school is unacceptable," Whalum said.

School board member Stephanie Gatewood is on board with the threat.

"I certainly would say everyday. Every single day y'all are going to get, you'll have to go through metal detector search. And then again, they know not to bring anything they're not supposed to have," Gatewood said.

By phone we spoke with school board member Freda Williams. She said she has yet to make up her mind about implementing metal detectors. But she's open to discussion on how to "make the best use of the resources."

School board member Betty Mallott hesitates. She supports a random testing schedule at the discretion of each principal. Anything else borders on time-consuming and counter-productive, especially,she says, every day in every school

"Oh, I'm very opposed to that. Because I think in some schools it actually creates a sense of fear and a sense of threat. Especially in a neighborhood where they truly have not had instances of shooting," Mallott said.

In the end, the biggest obstacle to a new school security plan might not be money, gear, or personnel, but rather disagreement.

Click here to e-mail Nick Kenney.

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