School officials clash over metal detector delay at Stoneman Douglas

Classes resume next week at Parkland campus without screeners

By Ian Margol - Reporter

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - Two Broward County School Board members clashed Tuesday over the district’s recent decision to open the school year at Marjory Stoneman Douglas without metal detectors.

The screening equipment was one of many security measures planned to be put in place after a gunman opened fire on Valentine’s Day inside the Parkland school and killed 17 people.

School Board member Robin Bartleman questioned why the delay was announced with only days to go before students would return to classes. 

"Every meeting we have discussed these metal detectors. And now a week before that the implementation is supposed to happen, all of the sudden we have all of these issues?" Bartleman said.

However, School Board member Rosalind Osgood welcomed the delay.

"With the light of what happened on Feb. 14, I'm not willing to rush into it," Osgood said. "I want to make sure that we've had every conversation, that we've gotten all of the advice."

The metal detectors were supposed to be a part of new security enhancements for the school, but in a letter to parents Friday, the district said that Stoneman Douglas would reopen on Aug. 15 without the screening devices.

"We're trying to evaluate the risks and implementation challenges associated with it," Superintendent Robert Runcie said. 

Concerns arose after a hired security consulting firm pointed out potential issues with privacy and the sheer number of students at Stoneman Douglas. Around 3,000 young people attend the Parkland school.

"Good leadership would take a pause and try to make the best decision, even if it's the day before school to re-evaluate and make sure we're doing what's best for our kids," Osgood said.

The district will, however, be implementing a strict single point of entry and will be requiring staff and students to wear ID badges at all times. They are also upgrading the school's surveillance camera system and putting new locks on doors that will allow parts of the school to be locked down.

Copyright 2018 by WPLG Local10.com - All rights reserved.