Broward County School Searches

Daniel Adderley, Contributor

This past Summer Broward County Public Schools passed a referendum to conduct random school searches that allowed security and police officers to search students for weapons. In September my school, South Broward High School was selected to be randomly searched and my class was one of the first. It all started with a knock on the door and about three school security guards walked in along with four police officers. All twenty students were ordered to leave their bags inside the classroom and line up in the hallway. While in the hallway, they made us empty our pockets into a container and they waved us down with a hand-held metal detector one by one. While this was going on, security guards were searching our bags in the room. 

The whole experience was time-consuming and made me feel violated. I felt like my personal space and belongings were violated. They didn’t inform me that my bag was getting searched and when they found my lighter, I was called out of class for a lecture. When I got back into the classroom my bag was still open and wasn’t even placed back where I left it. 

BCPS claims that they put the searches into place to keep weapons off the campus. I believe that while their intention is to keep us safe, these random searches aren’t going to do that. I say this because the searches are random and there are hundreds of classes and thousands of students to search, so the only way that they are going to find anything is if they get lucky. And in my opinion, our safety shouldn’t be put in the hands of luck. For one thing, there are a lot of schools to search, and guns are being found in other counties.

These searches are only conducted in Broward County and in middle and high schools. In October an elementary school student brought a gun to Hialeah. How are they going to protect students from weapons if they’re only conducting searches in Broward county? The answer to that is, they’re not.

Whenever these safety precautions are put in place, guess who’s sitting in the classroom right along with us? The potential shooter. They are being trained to adjust their plans. BCPS also spent $6.9 million on handheld metal detectors for the searches.  That’s a lot of money that could have been used in other ways such as building maintenance or teachers. There are so many other things they could have put that money towards. But instead, they used it to conduct these jail-type searches. That’s a lot of money to spend to find a few vape pens and headache medication. 

Instead of implementing random searches, they should start trying to make school environments better and more comfortable. Maybe if there wasn’t so much negativity and bullying, there would be fewer kids wanting to shoot up the schools. Schools should take bullying and the school climate more seriously. Make the consequences of bullying harsher. That’s the only way to really prevent shootings and make schools safer.