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My recommendations are all achievable and avoid the most controversial ideas, so that they have a chance of happening. Still, they will require unified and emphatic parental endorsement: Install metal detectors, restrict campus and building access and connect 360-degree interior and exterior video monitoring for every public school.

Impact of Security Measures on Violence

• There is no clear evidence that the use of metal detectors, security cameras, or guards in schools is effective in preventing school violence, 8,9,10,11 and little is known about the potential for unintended consequences that may accompany their adoption.12

• There has not been sufficient research to determine if the presence of metal detectors in schools reduces the risk of violent behavior among students. 13

• Some researchers have expressed concern about the widespread use of guards, cameras, and other security technologies, given that so little is known about their effectiveness. 14,15

• Research has found security strategies, such as the use of security guards and metal detectors, to be consistently ineffective in protecting students16 and to be associated with more incidents of school crime and disruption17 and higher levels of disorder in schools. 18

• Evidence from a school–police partnership implemented in New York City reveals that students in these schools continue to experience higher than average problems linked directly to future criminality, compared to students in other New York City schools not involved in the partnership. 19

• Surveillance cameras in schools may have the effect of simply moving misbehavior to places in schools or outside of schools that lack surveillance. Even more troubling, it’s possible that cameras may function as enticement to large-scale violence, such as in the case of the Virginia Tech shooter who mailed video images of himself to news outlets.20

• Research suggests that the presence of security guards and metal detectors in schools may actually increase levels of violence in schools by strengthening the influence of youth “street” culture with its emphasis on self-protection.21

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