Tampa Bay parents push for metal detectors in schools

TAMPA, Fla. — Parents in Tampa Bay are making their voices heard: Many want metal detectors in schools.

ABC Action News found out most Tampa Bay schools do not have metal detectors. The exception is Hillsborough County, which uses handheld metal detection wands to do random checks at middle and high schools. It’s something the district may choose to do more regularly after yet another deadly school shooting. 

“Metal detectors are just a way of life," explained Annie Beilstein, who likes the idea of metal detectors in schools. “To have your kids in school and know that there’s that peace of mind, there is no question. It's something that must be done.”

It's a way of life parents say needs to be expanded to every school campus. 

“If it improves the security of our children, teachers and staff I would say we have to do it," explained Tampa resident Mike Olson.

“You don’t see this kind of rampage going through the places that already have these metal detectors so I think it’s important to implement that right now,” added Jeanne Luczynski.

We took parent's concerns straight to school leaders across Tampa Bay and found out only Hillsborough County uses hand held wands to to do random checks. Other bay area districts tell us metal detectors aren’t practical because of the difficulty of funneling in students and the large expense. 

“The expense is worth it! These are our kids!," Luczynski argues.

Retired F.B.I. agent and crime prevention specialist Dave Couvertier agrees that the metal detectors could be a good investment. “Anytime you actually put devices or change policies to keep someone from doing something bad, it’s going to be helpful.”

He says metal detectors are proven to cut down on the number of guns brought into buildings, and should be considered alongside other safety upgrades.

“It is a systemic, cultural crisis that our nation is in. Period. We need to look at all of our options,” Couvertier explained. The retired FBI agent also teaches active shooter training courses. 

Parents tell us they aren’t giving up. They plan to petition Bay Area school district leaders this summer to add metal detectors before kids return to school in the Fall.

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