NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) — Currently, it’s not required for all students to pass through a metal detector as they enter Newport News Public Schools.
However, Newport News School Board member John Eley has a feeling that process may be considered following a shooting inside Heritage High School on Monday.
The district already has some metal detectors. Money to purchase them was included as part of the security services team’s roughly $3.5 million budget the last two school years, according to NNPS documents.
However, Eley said the idea of making them a prerequisite for entering the school received a lot of pushback.
“They didn’t want metal detectors in the school. They didn’t want their child to feel like they were going into a detention home. And I understood that,” Eley said on Monday. “But after what happened today, I’m going to have to use a little bit of knowledge from our board to make the best decision.”
Superintendent Dr. George Parker III said he isn’t surprised the topic is making a comeback. Still, his position remains the same.
“I’m not a big proponent of making schools look like prisons,” Parker said.
Parker instead believes the conversation needs to be focused on how the juvenile suspect obtained a handgun.
“We have plenty of deterrents and safety measures in place to ensure students are randomly screened and do not bring illegal items onto school grounds,” Parker said.
Eley thinks the board’s priority should be increasing funding for mental health counselors.
The Newport News School Board has a meeting scheduled for Tuesday at 6:30 p.m.