GAS CITY, Ind. – The Mississinewa Community School Board of Trustees approved metal detector guidelines Monday night. It will bring walk-through metal detectors to the high school and middle school.
Starting in April, hundreds of students will be walking through the security system. The district's superintendent, Tab McKenzie, said they will be used randomly several times of week at school entrances.
These metal detectors are coming from the heart of a community still recovering from its own mass shooting. The company, BALLISTIGLASS, is based out of Parkland, Florida. Its president got the idea after 17 people were killed in the district where his kids go to school.
Now, Grant County in Indiana wants to use his idea.
"The parkland shooting in Florida last year really intensified our circumstance," said McKenzie.
McKenzie said they got the idea from Jay School Corporation in Jay County. Jeremy Gulley, their superintendent, said they began using the metal detectors in December. Gulley said they wanted technology that did not look intimidating. They randomly pull students and staff members to go through the metal detectors and so far, he said it’s been successful.
Mississinewa Community Schools will be spending $24,000 on six of these metal detectors. Each system costs $4,000.
"People were really anxious and had a lot of stress over school security and safety," said McKenzie.
He wants to put parents at ease by randomly using metal detectors at the entrances of the high school and middle school. He hopes it will stop a gun from coming on campus. Unlike Jay School Corporation, McKenzie plans to have every student go through the metal detectors. They are working out logistics so school still starts on time.
"It’s hard to put a price on student safety and staff safety," he said.
Most parents we spoke to support the idea.
"I think they need them in the school to protect the kids," said Ashley Yeakle, a parent.
The district is also looking at protective glass for the schools. They plan to spend roughly $80,000 on school safety. That money will come from their budget.