Milwaukee students protest metal detectors in their schools

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Milwaukee students protest metal detectors in their schools

By Jonah Kaplan. CREATED Oct 17, 2013 - UPDATED: Oct 17, 2013

MILWAUKEE - Some high school students from Milwaukee plan to protest Thursday morning.

They say they are upset about a new rule requiring them to go through metal detectors at school.

A news conference organized by high school students will be held at 7:05 a.m. in front of Riverside University High School at 1615 E. Locust St.

Students will be wearing orange Thursday to speak out and commemorate what they are calling “Scholars Not Suspects Day.”

The students are asking for a “moratorium on metal detector checks until community hearings take place to create an effective safety policy that does not treat students like criminals.”

Milwaukee Public Schools first introduced metal detectors into its security measures in the 1992-1993 school year - two decades ago. In its policy handbook, the school board authorized "random screening where there is reasonable cause to believe that the safety of the students may be in question."

School officials only recently upped the ante, purchasing 50 metal detectors for more than $150,000 in 2012.

In a statement emailed to TODAY'S TMJ4, officials declared:

Two things are at the utmost importance to Milwaukee Public Schools, the education of children and their safety. Recent events have reminded us that public spaces and buildings are not immune from the threat of violence. With that in mind, it is our goal to have a daily scan at the beginning of the day, not unlike what fans experience when attending a major sporting event, at all of our high schools. This is a proactive measure and not in response to any incident or series of incidents in our schools.

Most of our large high schools use this practice already so this is not new for the district. This year, we have continued to move forward our goal. Students are meeting our expectations by participating in the scans and getting to their classes on time. When we begin a scan at a school, we work with students, parents and staff to ensure everyone is informed.

Jonah Kaplan

Jonah Kaplan

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Originally from Philadelphia, Jonah Kaplan loves the culture, character and pride of Milwaukee. He's won top awards for his reporting of breaking news and severe weather.