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Frankfort introduces metal detector policy

BY Spencer Durham - sdurham@chronicle-tribune.com

Policies on the use of metal detectors and searches and seizures at Frankfort schools were presented at Tuesday night’s board meeting.

Frankfort’s school board heard from Assistant Principal Joel McKinney who presented both policies. Frankfort received nine handheld metal detectors from the state.

Other schools across the state took advantage of the program in an effort to enhance security. With receiving metal detectors, however, schools must implement policies on how to use them.

The proposed policy, which will have to go through a public hearing prior to being officially approved, allows school personnel trained to use the detectors, law enforcement officers and school resource officers to operate the metal detector wands.

Searches are allowed if the administration has “reasonable suspicion” that a student is in the possession of a weapon, the policy reads. Searches will be conducted in private and in accordance with the corporation’s policy on personal searches.

Metal detector checks can be done on an individualized basis or in a group setting. This includes all students before entering school, or a group of students selected at random “on a neutral, nondiscriminatory basis,” the policy states.

Before a metal detector check, the administrator conducting the check must explain the scanning process. Checks will be conducted by an official of the same sex as the student.

In relation to the implementation of metal detectors, McKinney said a search and seizure policy also needed to be on the books. The policy distinguishes what is school property, explains the use of breath-test instruments and vehicle searches.

Like with the use of metal detectors, searches will be conducted by an official of the same sex as the student.

The policies moved to a second, public hearing, which will take place in October.

In other business, the board approved 68 non-resident students. McKinney said it’s the most the school corporation has had since he’s been there.

The board also officially approved the Lifting Libraries, Inspiring Readers initiative. The project was a joint partnership between the Community Schools of Frankfort and Center Township. Township Trustee Kevin Evans budgeted $35,000 to help provide a library in each classroom at the elementary level in the corporation. Teachers and students will be able to select the books they want to purchase.