Representatives Call for Metal Detectors in All Public Schools



COLUMBIA, SC (WOLO)– Some representatives want to arm schools with another layer of protection:  metal detectors. People gathered on the steps of the Statehouse to demand safer schools. One of those demands includes metal detectors for every public school and they say that is a very small price for protecting school children.  


This is a study the Post and Courier in Charleston did, and they said it’d cost 114 million dollars to outfit all the schools with metal detectors. That equates to 15-cents per taxpayer, per day. That’s nothing,”

Gary West, president and founder of ‘Protect Our School Children,’ said.


Traci Fant attended the rally and said she is concerned for her 10 year old granddaughters. 


“No, I don’t feel like they’re safe. I worry about it all the time,” Fant said.  She says active shooter drills distract them from their learning, and it is time for that to end. 


“It’s not fair to them. It’s not fair. And as adults we have a responsibility to our children. As taxpayers, as parents, as teachers, as school officials, as people at the statehouse. We have that responsibility,” Fant said. 


Gov. Henry McMaster said he believes metal detectors are something he is willing to invest in, but there are other steps that need to be put in place first.


“That would be part of it, but, the first thing we need to do is have a trained, certified, law enforcement officer in every school in South Carolina anytime there are students there,” McMaster said.  Representatives agree there need to be more school resource officers, but said there is still too much room for error if schools just rely on them.


“You have to have one with the other. You cannot just have officers without metal detectors. Because you need that extra measure of safety for our children and our students. That’s just the bottom line,” Wendell Gilliard, (D) Charleston County, said.  Representatives who gathered on the statehouse steps said it should be like an airport, where people go through metal detectors, and SRO’s are there to watch over the process.    


“But what you’re doing is you’re putting a small piece of the puzzle together. Okay? You should not leave out one piece. Because if you do that, we’re just going through a revolving door in South Carolina,” Gilliard said. 


The proposed bill is set to go through a study committee to see exactly how the state would pay for it, and the cost. Representative Gilliard will be meeting with metal detector manufacturers next week to see if they can get the cost even lower.