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Broward County (Florida) district is adding walk-through metal detectors at all of its high schools

April 25, 2024
The board has decided to accelerate its security plan and install detectors in all its 32 high schools by the end of the fall semester.

The Broward County (Florida ) School Board has decided to have walk-through metal detectors installed at all its high schools by the end of the 2024-25 fall semester.

The Miami Herald reports that the district, the nation's sixth largest, had planned for a pilot program at two campuses followed by a gradual rollout to all high schools. But board members opted to accelerate plans for the detectors after expressing concerns about inequity among schools who get the detectors first versus last.

“I don’t really want to wait--I want to do all of our high schools now,” said Lori Alhadeff, the board’s chair, whose daughter Alyssa was killed during the 2018 school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High in Parkland.

The Broward County district started doing random screenings in 2022 with handheld metal detectors in all schools. Last month, the board decided to expand the program by installing walk-through metal detectors in high schools. The plan called for a pilot program at Charles W. Flanagan High School in Pembroke Pines and J.P. Taravella High School in Coral Springs.

If the strategy was deemed a success, district administrators planned to add detectors at 10 other high schools in 2024-25, and then the remaining high schools in 2025-26.

But during a School Board workshop this week, board members reached a consensus that they should get the walk-through detectors into all of the district's 32 high schools as soon as possible.

The detectors that the district will install are battery-operated ones that use artificial intelligence to show the location and type of a weapon passing through. Each detector, which includes two towers and a floor mount, costs about $16,480.

In total, it would cost about $1.9 million to buy at least 100 detection systems to cover all high schools. Each high school will require about three systems, but maybe more or less, depending on arrival patterns, physical layout and student enrollment.

The district will have to assign security personnel to the detection system after installing them, and then teach them how to use it.

In 2022-23 and so far in 2023-24, the Broward County district has documented 220 weapons-related incidents. Out of those, eight incidents — or 3.6% — were related to firearms on campus. 

About the Author

Mike Kennedy | Senior Editor

Mike Kennedy has been writing about education for American School & University since 1999. He also has reported on schools and other topics for The Chicago Tribune, The Kansas City Star, The Kansas City Times and City News Bureau of Chicago. He is a graduate of Michigan State University.

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