COLUMBIA, S.C. (WSAV) — Wendall Gilliard (D) South Carolina, calls his bill the “Metal Detectors in Public Schools Act” and it would do exactly what the name says. It would put walk-through metal detectors at every public entrance of every public elementary, middle and high school in the state.
Gilliard said, “Are we going to wait for another Columbine or Sandy Hook? We need to act and we need to act swiftly. I always tell people, if the technology is there, then use it.”
If it passes, Gilliard’s plan would have the safety devices installed in time for the next school year.
In the last few years, several South Carolina school boards have discussed adding detectors–including those in Charleston and Greenville.
In each case, worried parents raised the issue after gun-related incidents at school.
The average metal detector costs more than $1,000 and this bill calls for all school districts to have them. And while the districts see the need for the metal detectors, some are concerned about the cost.
Jasper County Superintendent, Donald Andrews said, “There’s no value or dollars that value human life. We can’t look at the amount of dollar. But what does concern us is that many times they start out with these great proposals, and a lot of times it does filter down to the schools.”
Gilliard saids costs and funding would become a state budget issue once it passes through the committee process. But, he says safety is the more important issue.
“You can go to any county here in the state and look at the statistics for weapons in the schools. And, I’m not just talking about our high school students; I’m talking about elementary and even our colleges and universities.”