The daily scanning of 90,000 high-school students in the city’s public schools once again puts the finger on a sore spot and highlights a latent problem: how to deal with school security.
On the one hand we have the students, who feel their rights violated as they are exposed to such constant surveillance. On the other are the authorities, who are in charge of ensuring public order in school facilities at risk of violence.
In the middle of the debate are the parents: some support metal detectors in schools, others are against them. “My son is not a criminal who has to be monitored every day,” is the general comment of those opposed. “I prefer that no guns enter the school,” say those in favor.
Meanwhile, a report issued this week has clearly established that most students passing through the detectors belong to minorities (48% African American, 38% Hispanic). Moreover, 43% of those surveyed are English as a Second Language learners. On top of that, the county with the most searches of this type is The Bronx (62%). Curiously, in Staten Island there are Zero metal detector checks.
All of this leads us to the following thoughts: the Department of Education needs to reformulate the way it is conducting the checks. It is essential that school guards have other types of interactions with the students. There needs to be some restraint. We cannot treat kids going to school as if they were criminals.
We know that there are problematic schools where gangs run rampant, but a few bad apples cannot be a catalyst for the whole school system. It is time to reassess the procedures and treat each case individually.