Superintendent says no rush to full body metal detectors

Dr. Dance meets with parents after gun in school

The shooting at Perry Hall High School and the gun at Stemmers Run Middle have gotten the attention of parents all across Baltimore County.

Tuesday night they turned out to hear what the new superintendent had to say about keeping their kids safe at school.

"It was frightening. It was frightening," said Patricia White, whose son attends Woodlawn High.  "Academics is of utmost importance, but safety - they go hand in hand."

Some parents came to hear about disciplinary policies that are aimed at doling out fewer suspensions; they're concerned that could lead to more bullying.

"I think it's going to make a lot of parents unhappy if these things are happening to their kids, and instead of a suspension the kid's going into time-out," said Larry Sonnenreich, whose daughter attends Arbutus Middle School.

But after the incident at Stemmers Run Middle -- weapons became a primary concern.

County police now say the number of school resource officers will be increased, and those officers will be issued hand-held metal detectors.

"Students being safe at school, arriving at school safe arriving home from school safely, that's the first thing that needs to be met before any learning can take place in our classrooms," said the school superintendent, Dr. Dallas Dance.

Some parents want to know whether permanent metal detectors should be installed at school entrances.

"I'm not ready to rule it out," Dr. Dance said.  "I'm not ready to say we'll really jump in it. What I will say though is that we need to take a deliberate approach to it.  And there have been school systems and schools around the country that have installed metal detectors and have still had incidents to occur."

The superintendent says he is also developing an office of safety and security for County schools.

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