Timberview High School

Why There Are No Metal Detectors at Timberview High School

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What to Know

  • An 18-year-old opened fire inside Mansfield ISD's Timberview High School in Arlington, Texas, leaving four people injured before fleeing.
  • Three of the four were taken to hospitals and the other person refused treatment.
  • The suspected gunman, Timothy George Simpkins, is now in police custody.

Throughout the day parents wondered aloud on camera and on social media why there were no metal detectors at Timberview High School where a student opened fire Wednesday.

Four people were injured, two people are still hospitalized, the suspected gunman is in custody.

Many parents believe metal detectors would have kept the gun out of the classroom. NBC 5 asked the Mansfield Independent School District to respond.

"About three and a half years ago, we created a safety committee which was comprised of parents, students, community members, teachers, faculty and staff… and the No. 1 recommendation that came out of that particular task force was they wanted to have law enforcement officers on every campus, so that's where we moved at that particular point in time," said Mansfield ISD Assoc. Superintendent for Communications Donald Williams.

Williams went on to say Wednesday's shooting calls will force a new assessment.

"We're gonna assess and evaluate every aspect of what transpired and then make recommendations as far as how we're going to move forward," Williams said.

Many parents believe metal detectors would have kept the gun out of the classroom. NBC 5 asked the Mansfield Independent School District to respond.

Craig Miller has decades of law enforcement and school safety experience as a school safety consultant and former Dallas ISD Chief of Police. He said district leaders should pause before investing in metal detectors. Miller said the problem is most high schools have multiple entries and exits which make metal detectors less effective.

“When the first bell rings there’s more than one door that are open. You still have athletics coming through the athletics doors. You still have indoor stadiums that kids can access through,” said Miller. “You still have band halls and outside band doors that kids can go through. If they can go through multiple doors, then that of the metal detector is nonexistent.”

Instead, Miller said the focus should be on creating effective threat assessment teams to identify potential problems before they arise.

“Law enforcement also needs to be involved on those teams. That helps us identify earlier kids that are having problems of kids that are experiencing bullying,” he said.

Miller is referring to Senate Bill 11, state legislation that asks schools to focus on behavior and mental health initiatives as a way to create safer campuses.

The next regular Mansfield ISD school board meeting is scheduled for Oct. 26, no agenda has been posted yet on the school board's website.

NBC 5’s Katy Blakey was in Arlington Wednesday morning and spoke with a parent of a student at Mansfield Timberview High School. She described what went through her mind after learning about the shooting.
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