Removing Metal Detectors Beginning the 2021-2022 School Year
June 4, 2021

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Dear 287 Families,

Racial equity work is about learning from past experiences and doing better when we know better. In alignment with our strategic priorities of racial equity and trauma-responsive practices, we will end the use of metal detectors in 287 buildings beginning the 2021-2022 school year. Note that only two sites currently have working metal detectors, as we have decided to invest in student-friendly proactive strategies that advance positive learning environments. 

Why are we ending the use of metal detectors?
  • We are investing in student-friendly proactive school safety strategies that advance positive learning environments.
  • Removing metal detectors is yet another step to advance racial equity and promote safe schools for everyone.
  • Research suggests that metal detectors contribute to poor learning environments, a false sense of security, and inequity.

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We want to emphasize that this change is not simply about removing metal detectors. This change is about transforming our beliefs and creating a school entry process that embodies our values and truly supports students. Many schools have mastered an effective school welcoming process. What does this look like and feel like? It’s about continuing to develop what we already know: strong relationships with students are essential.
  • Checking in with students
  • Assessing students’ physical and emotional well-being
  • Taking “temperature” of the day’s climate, collectively and individually
  • Empathy and understanding of how students show up and noticing when someone seems “off”
  • Conversations that start the day on a positive note
  • Body language that shows interest and care for students
  • Acknowledging, greeting, and making eye contact with students
We will continue to screen students as part of our entry into school by greeting students and thoroughly checking backpacks and coats. Should there be cause to further screen a person, wands may also be used. The use of wands will be based on credible reasons as determined by the school safety team. Wanding will not happen publicly, rather, on an individual basis when the staff and student are in a safe place.

We understand and expect there to be various responses from our school community about this change. Everyone’s feelings are valid. At the same time, we must prioritize doing what is best for students, especially Students of Color, and our values as a school district. 

As a school district that serves a unique population of students, our philosophy about school safety is rooted in long-term, proactive safety and school climate/culture efforts. Removing metal detectors is yet another step to advance racial equity and promote safe schools for everyone.

Visit our website to learn more about this decision.



Sandy Lewandowski

Copyright © 2021. All rights reserved.

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