McKinney school board discusses security measures in meeting Tuesday

A group of parents want McKinney ISD to become the first school district in Collin County to put metal detectors in every school.

The school board met Tuesday night to discuss new measures to improve safety and security on its campuses.

The briefing comes a month after a student shot himself at McKinney North High School and after a McKinney Boyd student made an online threat.

The incidents have led some parents to call for tougher measures, like metal detectors, to keep students safe on campus. The district has already implemented a number of new measures over the past few years and Tuesday's meeting will be a chance to see how those measures have worked.

The focus from district leaders during the briefing seemed to lean toward mental health. McKinney ISD anticipated this request for metal detectors in schools and produced a list of challenges schools face when metal detectors are installed.

That list includes that metal detectors would not prevent incidents happening outside the school, they would require student resource officers to staff the detectors rather than focus on things happening inside schools. They believe long lines of students would be caused as they tried to get into schools, creating a safety hazard.

The district also produced a list of security measures already in place, including 1,500 security cameras, student resource officers on campuses and emergency lockdown buttons in each school.

Two mothers who spoke during the briefing, who both have 17-year-old children who are incoming seniors at McKinney north, believe the metal detectors would prevent weapons from getting into schools and stop anyone planning a violent attack.

The mothers have created a Facebook page to lobby for metal detectors. Nearly 900 people have joined that page.

"I'm mama bear,” said parent Melody Timmons. “I'm trying to go after what I think my kid deserves, and that's to be safe in school."

“I feel that metal detectors are the protection that we can put in our schools,” said parent Deanna Rosenbaum.

The mothers have even toured a local metal detector manufacturer out of Garland and gotten a quote of $30,000 for eight metal detectors to be installed at McKinney north alone. They spoke during the budget item at the meeting and are hopeful it will receive further consideration.

Through the 2016 bond program, the district added $6.5 million worth of security upgrades including counselors, cameras and a tip line.

One security consultant with whom FOX4 spoke said that it’ll take many factors to spur change. There’s not a single magic solution.

“It’s not an easy thing to say ‘We are going to pass a measure and by next week we are going to be much safer,’” Vindico security consultant Hector Tarango said. “It’s a long-term and multifaceted process.”

Most security changes can only be made with board approval.

The district says this past school year, they have responded to about 400 incidents of mental health crisis, which is a 60% increase from the school year before.