PORT ARTHUR, Texas — After a tragic mass shooting at a Texas elementary school claimed the lives of 19 students and two teachers, districts are re-evaluating safety measures.
Port Arthur Independent School District officials are considering installing metal detectors at all district campuses.
Port Arthur ISD police don’t expect the detectors to be a foolproof line of defense. However, they hope they will at least act as a deterrent against armed individuals trying to enter schools.
“This is just another tool in our toolbox to help increase security in light of all the violence that's been occurring in the country, you know, in our schools,” Port Arthur Police Chief Alton Baise.
Metal detectors have been in place at Memorial High School and all middle schools across the district for two years.
“The metal detectors do serve as a deterrent for anyone who wants to bring any kind of metal objects or weapons into the school buildings,” Baise said. “They serve their purpose.”
Port Arthur ISD has also installed metal detectors at various sporting events, including football and basketball games. The detectors have acted as a deterrent.
At a Thursday school board meeting, members will consider and possibly approve the purchase of new metal detectors. If approved, the metal detectors will be installed in all elementary and secondary schools and are expected to cost more than $64,000.
The metal detectors are made by a Texas company, Garrett, and were installed at Santa Fe High School following a school shooting in 2018.
“Each metal detector comes with at least one wand as a secondary in case something may be missed by a metal detector," Assistant Port Arthur Police Chief Eugene Wilson said. "Or a metal detector may alert, and we move into a secondary and use a hand wand just to make sure."
It is unclear when the new metal detectors will be installed in elementary schools if approved during Thursday's school board meeting.
This is a developing story. We will update with more if and when we receive more confirmed information.