URBANA, Ill. (WCIA) — “Our plan and our hope is that they approve this,” Urbana Superintendent Dr. Jennifer Ivory-Tatum said.
It’ll be a few weeks until a final decision is made, but one school board is considering a new security system to keep students safe. Urbana isn’t the first district to talk about adding metal detectors, but they are the most recent.
Urbana School District has been discussing this plan since the summer, but they really wanted to take even more action after an Urbana teen was shot and killed just last week. While, it wasn’t at the school, they hope this can still help stop some violence.
“The violence in our community has increased,” Superintendent Ivory-Tatum said. “We know that a lot of our youth are connected to some of this violence.”
With violence happening throughout Central Illinois, Urbana School District leaders are looking at increasing security measures at the high school.
“We have had concerns about whether or not there are weapons in our school,” Superintendent Ivory-Tatum said. “This is a great way for us to, with minimal disruptions to the learning environment be sure on a daily basis whether or not that is actually happening.”
After increasing supervision, monitoring how students come in and out of school, and adding other safety measures, the superintendent wants to take even more action.
“This isn’t just about our students brining things in and out,” Superintendent Ivory-Tatum said. “Its also about keeping our students safe, while they’re in the building. Away from things in the community from coming inside our buildings.”
School board members heard a presentation from an Ohio based company. They talked about installing a unique kind of metal detector.
“The ones that we’re looking at are specifically weapons detection systems so you could walk through the building with your phone and your keys and your wallet and all of your stuff and it wouldn’t key on that at all. Its just really looking for weapons and threats to the building,” John Gutzmer, Urbana School District Chief Information Officer, said.
That system is light weight and can be moved as needed. It can be purchased outright and would cost about 65 thousand dollars.
“Making things so that the school feels safe, but it doesn’t feel like you’re walking through an airport or walking into somewhere where they’re doing like really high level screenings,” Gutzmer said.
Urbana is also looking at buying a second system. Those detectors would be bigger, harder to move and on 4 year lease that would cost around $2,300.
“One of our primary responsibilities, mine as superintendent, is to keep everyone in our district safe, so this is one of the ways that we could do that in a really non intrusive way,” Gutzmer said.
The district also surveyed students and staff. They say the results showed a majority of students and staff want something to be done and that they feel there are already weapons inside the school. Board members will vote on the metal detectors on January 18th.