IN Focus: Governor provides metal detectors to Indiana schools

INDIANAPOLIS – More than ninety percent of Indiana public schools have signed up to receive handheld metal detectors free of charge after Gov. Eric Holcomb rolled out a new program earlier this month.

Under the new program, schools are eligible for one device for every 250 students.

“We at the very outset said we wanted to make this a local decision that we would make available at no cost to them,” Holcomb said.

The device is another tool to help protect students.

School leaders in Noblesville, for example, said they will use the wands on a case-by-case basis when reasonable suspicion exists. The program was launched weeks after police say a 13-year-old brought a gun inside Noblesville West Middle School and started shooting.

In Lebanon, Superintendent Robert Taylor said the wands won’t be used on every student, which he said is logistically impossible, saying they will be given to school resource officers within the schools.

“When there is reasonable suspicion, that maybe there’s an issue with something illegal, the metal detectors will allow officers or those responsible adults to be more thorough in their search and investigation of that,” he said.

Many school officials, while in the process of changing their own safety plans, say they are still waiting for guidance from the state level. Earlier this year, Governor Eric Holcomb assigned a task force to come up with a set of safety recommendations by August 1.

So far, the Indiana Department of Education and the Indiana Department of Homeland Security, who are part of the task force, are remaining tight lipped about the recommendations until they’re released. However, a spokesperson for the DOE confirmed that once the recommendations hit his desk, the governor will decide which are implemented and when.