Phoenix/ Community & Society
AI Assisted Icon
Published on May 05, 2024
Mesa's Skyline High School Pioneers Safety with Weapons Detectors and Anti-Vaping MeasuresSource: Google Street View

More Arizona schools are ramping up their security measures, with Skyline High School in Mesa setting the precedent by implementing portable weapons detectors at school entrances. This initiative is part of a wider pilot program that's been in effect for a month, aiming to prevent weapons from making their way onto school grounds. According to ABC15 Arizona, these detectors are capable of identifying metals such as small knives and firearms, with different sensitivity settings available.

The move to bolster school safety, however, is not without cost. These weapons detectors come with a price tag of around $20,000 a set, and the financial burden falls on the school's budget after a recent bond measure for school safety failed to pass. Allen Moore, Mesa Public School's director for safety and security, noted that the equipment functions similarly to what one might find at a baseball game, said 12News. The program's success could prompt a district-wide rollout, eventually expanding to junior highs and, potentially, elementary schools.

The decision to adopt these measures also extended to combating another prevalent issue in schools – vaping and substance use. The school board approved the installation of vape detectors in bathrooms, which has already led to numerous detections at Red Mountain High School. "They've been getting about 15 alerts a day and they've been catching about five kids a day," Moore informed 12News in an interview.

On top of these progressive safety measures, the plan includes granting Mesa Police Department's Real Time Crime Center access to nearly 3,000 cameras across all district schools. This initiative would enable law enforcement to obtain a real-time view of the schools during critical incidents, potentially improving response times and outcomes. The drive toward increased school security comes in the wake of several incidents, where weapons and vapes were detected, and an acknowledgment by officials that these are steps toward creating safer educational environments, as stated by Skyline's assistant principal Jay Cryder in a dialogue with ABC15 Arizona.