McKinney Families Take Push for Metal Detectors to School Board

Two McKinney ISD parents pushing for metal detectors at district schools brought a funding plan to the school board meeting Tuesday night.

Deeanna Rosenbaum and Melody Timmons spoke at the meeting, but the new security plan the district unveiled did not include metal detectors.

However, Rosenbaum and Timmons said they were encouraged by the changes and felt they were a step in the right direction.

A district spokesperson provided the safety and security update to the McKinney ISD school board. It included changes proposed for the 2018-2019 school year like adding crisis counselors and two school resource officers. 

McKinney's current security plan includes surveillance camera systems. McKinney North High School has two school resource officers on campus, according to parents.

Rosenbaum's and Timmons' effort to put metal detectors in school district-wide comes after McKinney police say a student brought a gun to McKinney North and used it to shoot himself inside an empty classroom on June 1, the Friday before the last week of the school year.

"It's hit home, literally, now it's my child's school and I don't want anybody to feel like that," Rosenbaum said. "It was horrible."

Rosenbaum and Timmons have set out to build support for installing metal detectors inside McKinney schools. They've written to lawmakers for support, gathered cost estimates, even toured a local manufacturing facility. They've organized their research into packets to present to school board members on Tuesday. It will be the first school board meeting since the June 1 incident.

"We put a lot of time and effort into this," Timmons said. "We're trying to come as prepared as possible. There are a lot of variables that are difficult for us to answer."

Often those variables have been posted for discussion in a Facebook group they started on the night of June 1. The group, McKinney Parents and Students for Metal Detectors, has grown from around 50 followers earlier this month to more than 1,000.

"The parents really need to see some changes done," said Timmons. "They're worried about their kids going to school and being safe."

Both Rosenbaum and Timmons have kids at McKinney North High School. They said the June 1 shooting incident was a wake-up call, showing them that even armed school resource officers can't prevent a student from bringing a gun to campus.

"Why are we waiting for that to happen before we do something? We should be prepared before that happens," Rosenbaum said. "We have every opportunity to do so right now."

But there are arguments against metal detectors. Some said it would take too long to get students through the detectors before school starts in the morning. There's also a question of how the district would pay for the equipment and the staff to monitor detectors.

Rosenbaum said her research shows if there are enough metal detectors and staff, students could get through the doors in under 30 minutes.

"While cost is a factor, I think it's a minimal factor compared to some of the other things money is put towards in our school districts," Rosenbaum said.

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