Nearly all of Indiana’s public school districts have requested handheld metal detectors through a new state program that will offer the devices to schools for free.
More than 94% of the states public school districts have requested a total of 3,228 devices. Of the 369 school districts making requests, 271 were traditional public schools
In early July, Gov. Eric Holcomb’s office announced a new initiative to provide handheld metal detectors to all schools that want them. According to the governor’s office, 94 percent of all traditional public school corporations had requested the devices, along with many public charter and private schools.
All traditional public, charter and accredited non-public schools are eligible for one device for every 250 students enrolled.
“I am pleased so many of our schools have chosen to request these metal detectors,” Holcomb said last week. “This program is all about giving local school leaders one more resource at their disposal to include in their safety plans.”
The new program comes after a student was accused of bringing two guns into Noblesville West Middle School and opening fire in a science classroom May 25.
A 13-year-old student Ella Whistler and teacher Jason Seaman were injured in the incident. Seaman underwent surgery and was released from the hospital the day after the shooting. Ella continues to recover from multiple serious injuries sustained when she was shot seven times.
In the days after that shooting, many wondered how someone was able to bring guns into the school undetected.
Noblesville, like many school districts, does not have metal detectors installed at its school entrances. School administrators around the state have said cost and logistical challenges of getting hundreds— and sometimes thousands— of students through such checkpoints make them poor solutions in many instances. Handheld devices, though, could be used more easily or on a case-by-case basis.
At a news conference in the shooting’s aftermath, Holcomb pledged to provide whatever resources are needed while touting the state’s ongoing commitment to school safety. Indiana already requires schools to have robust safety plans and a safety specialist. At the behest of the governor, lawmakers boosted an existing school safety grant program from $10 million annually to $15 million during this spring’s special legislative session.
The Indiana State Police and Department of Administration are coordinating the program and placed the first order. The devices are expected to be delivered to schools around mid-August, just after most districts start the new school year.
Schools that are interested but haven’t placed an order yet will have another opportunity this fall, according to the governor’s office.
Area Schools Making Requests
For Handheld Metal Detectors
Crothersville Community Schools 2
Scott County Dist. 1 (Austin) 4
Scott County Dist. 2 (Scottsburg) 9
Brownstown Central 6
Carr Township (Medora) 1
Jennings County 14