Student: Mandatory metal detector use treats kids 'like criminals'

The School District of Philadelphia
Photo credit Mike DeNardo | KYW Newsradio
PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — The School District of Philadelphia is considering a policy that would require all high schools to use walk-through metal detectors. A student who thinks that's a bad idea spoke out at last night's school board meeting.

Most of Philadelphia's 49 high schools use the metal detectors they've been issued — but three, including the Workshop School in West Philadelphia, don't. Charles Mitchell, a sophomore there, told the school board there's an atmosphere of trust at the Workshop School that didn't exist at his previous school.

"Starting the day with police officers and metal detectors makes students feel scared and stressed," Mitchell said. "When I used to go through metal detectors every day, do you know what was going through my mind? The fear that it would go off. The fear that if I left a key in my back pocket, I would get tackled by police."

The board is considering making metal detector use mandatory — something Mitchell believes would be counterproductive.

"A lot of kids think that this is just normal, but it's not. Schools are meant to be a place where you can express yourself and become who you are," he said. "But if you're treating us like criminals, than that just might be how you turn out."

The new policy is expected to be introduced at next month's board meeting.