Continued metal detector use in Youngstown City Schools


By Amanda Tonoli

atonoli@vindy.com

YOUNGSTOWN

Metal detectors in Youngstown City Schools will continue to be used randomly, said CEO Krish Mohip.

“The metal detectors are staying as they are,” Mohip said during this week’s CEO Citizens Coalition meeting.

Spokeswoman Denise Dick said principals decide when the detectors will be on – and students do not know.

After a November coalition meeting, members gave a firm “no” to removing metal detectors from school buildings.

The suggestion for the detectors’ removal came after East High Principal Sonya Gordon said during a previous interview with The Vindicator that she doesn’t want her students feeling as if they go to school in a prison.

Coalition member Megan Mercado said she supports the current use of the detectors.

“As a coalition member, we voted and discussed it and people were on fence,” said Mercado, a district parent of an elementary school student and high school student.

“They were either one way or the other and [district superintendent] Joe Meranto suggested this [compromise] of sporadic or random checks rather than ridding [them] altogether.”

School-security issues are at the forefront of national debate after mass school shootings in places such as Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., on Feb. 14; Italy High in Italy, Texas, on Jan. 22; Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn., on Dec. 14, 2012; and Columbine High in Columbine, Colo., on April 20, 1999.

Many coalition members felt if the detectors were eliminated, the school could be opened up for attack, Mercado said.

The other end of the compromise, she continued, was an increased police presence in the schools.

“Now, [officers] are always in the schools rather than certain times during the day,” she explained.

As a parent, Mercado said a risk is always present.

“If someone has the tendency to feel it’s OK to bring something like [a weapon] to school, there will always be a risk,” she said. “The police presence is nice as an extra precaution.”

Rick Rufh, another coalition member and retired Youngstown teacher, said no matter what, he feels confident metal detectors and police presence are here to stay.

“School safety is too important to ignore,” he said.

Mercado suggested another solution to the metal detector controversy: going paperless.

“Chaney [High] prides themselves on being paperless or near paperless,” she said. “If East [High] and Chaney and the elementary schools become paperless, students won’t even have a need for bookbags. [Eliminating] bookbags would eliminate the need for metal detectors.”

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