Anchorage grandfather wants metal detectors in schools to prevent shootings

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ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - An Anchorage grandfather is planning to attend Monday evening’s Anchorage School District board meeting to advocate that schools install metal detectors after Friday’s shooting in Texas.

Burnis “Butch” Sims, a grandfather of a 6-year-old student at Susitna Elementary, says metal detectors would be an effective way to keep students safe.

He is less concerned about the potential cost to install the technology across Alaska. “There’s no way you can put a price on a child’s life. I don’t care how much money you have or how much money you spend, you’re not going to bring that child back,” said Sims.

Joseph Schmidt, the senior director of school security and emergency preparedness with the Anchorage School District says Whaley School for special needs students is the only facility in Anchorage with fixed metal detectors and he says they could be a viable option to be taken district-wide from a security standpoint.

However, he says but they would inevitably change how a school looks, feels and operates by effectively creating a “chokepoint” for the thousands of students that need to come in and out of a school each day.

They aren’t the only security upgrades being considered by ASD. After the Parkland Shooting, a committee was convened in April with students, teachers, police and principals.

Schmidt says the committee embraced the idea of keyless locks across the district as keys can be lost and doors can be locked electronically. ASD is also in the process of making all their cameras digital and officials are looking into the idea of creating a single point of entry for each Anchorage school.

The committee however rejected the idea of metal detectors. “We talked about it and we decided that we would not need to take that step yet,” said 15-year-old Alexa Todd, a freshman from Robert Service High School.

She attended the committee meeting but thinks regulations that would stop dangerous people getting guns would better stop school shootings.
Todd is member of Anchorage’s March for our Lives along with Burke Croft, a junior from West High School, and Piper Sato, a recent graduate of Dimond High School.

All three members of the activist group are insistent they aren’t anti-gun and they understand that Alaska has a strong gun culture.

Sims also isn’t anti-gun saying that gun control wouldn’t be effective as people can always get guns if they want them in Alaska. “Everybody’s got guns, my neighbor across the street doesn’t hunt, but they've got guns for protection, everybody's got guns.”

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