Cassville schools considering metal detectors

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Discussion of new safety measure includes student voices

The Cassville school district is looking into installing metal detectors at two district campuses, with three entrances specifically being considered.

“We are looking at options, including those at Entry Shield,” said Richard Asbill, Cassville superintendent. “People can go to to find video and information about the security devices from the point of view of another superintendent in a rural school district.”

The idea is imbedded in the district’s main priority, the safety of staff and students.

“We have security cameras in place, as well as check in and check out procedures in place,” Asbill said. “But, we began this conversation about the metal detectors and looking into anything else that can be done to ensure student and staff safety.”

A person trying to enter any building on the Cassville campus must first buzz in and identify himself or herself. The visitor is then immediately seen on camera, and the staff will decided at that time whether to allow the individual to enter the facility.

“But, let’s say it is 4:15 p.m., and there is a game,” Asbill said. “The doors are practically held open, and now the campus is easily accessible.

“Then, we started talking about what security cameras do as far as monitoring safety and what else we could do to deter a potential threat that could involve a weapon.”

The Cassville student council and administration sat down and began asking and answering questions about the metal detector options.

“The students were able to identify key points to the process with valid concerns,” Asbill said. “From the point of view on how the devices work, we are looking at a technology that is camera integrated with an app. The app will send a notification to the administration if a weaponized threat is discovered.”

This process will allow for a deterrent, which will help prevent any possible threat, as well as allow the administration to react in an appropriate manner.

“The discussion now is addressing another level of staff and student safety,” Asbill said. “Security measures are always questioned, and as safe as we believe we are in a rural community, the school district will take every measure possible to keep them safe.”

Originally, the district was looking at one location for a metal detector.

“However, based on student questions and concerns, we are looking at three locations now,” Asbill said. “This is a direct response to student questions, and we are looking at two in the high school and one in the middle school.”

The metal detector to be placed in the middle school will be at the main entrance.

“That way all students, including the ones who ride the bus, will have to pass through the metal detector to gain entrance to the building,” Asbill said. “As concerned as we are with safety, being able to prevent accidents is a huge part of that.”

All in all, the school district has been having the metal detector discussion for the last few months.

“Really, we have been talking about it more aggressively during the last three months,” Asbill said. “There was a school conference where a company came in with a demo presentation of the product.

“We believe we are a good school and good community, but we aren’t immune to possible threats that could have been prevented.”

The metal detectors will cost about $30,000 each after being installed.

“The school will look into using grant money to cover some of the cost, but realistically, that will cover about one-third of the cost,” Asbill said. “A potential goal of having the metal detectors in place and functional could be as early as January or February.

“We will bring it back to the board of education for the December meeting for discussion and potentially have a proposal at the first of the year to be approved.”

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