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Jordan Manners, C.W. Jefferys Collegiate Institute

Metal detectors in scho ols

By Arthur Weinreb

Monday, May 28, 2007

In the aftermath of the death of 15-year-old Jordan Manners, who was shot to death in C.W. Jefferys Collegiate Institute in Toronto last Wednesday, there has been a lot of discussion about how to make schools safer. One of the suggestions, albeit not a serious one, is to require students and others entering schools to pass through metal detectors.

Most prominent in these discussions are the reasons why metal detectors should not be placed in the country's schools. It is by examining these arguments that it can be seen that the idea of metal detectors may not be such a bad idea after all.

The very thought of these poor students, including the potential killers among them, having  to pass through a metal detector before they can be taught the 3 Rs (racism, recycling and reproduction) goes against the core beliefs of the hug-a-thug crowd that are currently running our schools. Their main priority is to add more of the same; more social workers, more grief councillors, more of the current thinking that has led to the deterioration of schools in the first place. Donna Quan, the safe schools superintendent for the Toronto District School Board, was quoted as saying that C.W. Jefferys plans to add an extra vice-principal, another hall monitor and two more youth workers. What possible good will that do in preventing another shooting?  Adding a new vice-principal is bound to be an effective deterrent to violent crime including murder but only if he or she is armed. It is amazing how those who justify Canada's multi-billion dollar gun registry on the theory that "if it only saves one life" are firmly against metal detectors that would have prevented the shooter from entering the high school with a gun. The saving of this one hypothetical life doesn't seem that important when it comes to metal detectors or anything else that doesn't fit a particular political agenda.

Another argument against metal detectors is that it is bad optics. It will develop a so-called "fortress mentality" and have a negative effect on the students. But people, especially young people are resilient; they'll get used to going through these detectors and if it does perchance have a negative effect on some students, well, the schools can always bring in the social workers and the grief councillors. Somehow the negative effect of having to walk through a detector every day is thought to be worse than seeing a fellow student get blown away down the hall. So we will just close our eyes, hug a few more thugs, and pretend that what happened to Jordan Manners will never happen again. There are people who work in high security places that are required to walk through metal detectors every day; the students will just have to get used to it and they will.

There's one argument against placing metal detectors in schools that seems to make a lot of sense. Metal detectors can't be put everywhere. While a student or anyone else can be prevented from bringing a gun into a school, they can carry them elsewhere. If the shooter who killed Jordan wanted to shoot him but couldn't get his gun into the school, he could have shot him on the street or at the mall or any number of places. While this is a logical argument against putting metal detectors in schools it is also an excellent reason why detectors should be implemented.

The killing of the 15-year-old was obviously a horrendous tragedy for his family and friends. They wouldn't have felt any better if Jordan had been murdered somewhere else. But it should make a difference for the rest of us. And it has. A young person having his life snuffed out while going to school is not the same as being killed on the street or at a mall. Jordan Manners was deliberately targeted; this was not what is becoming a "typical school shooting" such as Dawson College in Montreal or Virginia Tech where someone tries to take out as many people as possible. But unlike the murder of other young black men in Toronto that are getting to be merely routine incidents, the news of Jordan Manners' murder went around the world. Schools are different than the street or the mall. If parents can expect nothing else from society or their schools, and they probably can't, they should at least be able to send their children to school knowing that they will not be shot to death in a place where some of them, like Jordan, are trying to learn. It's the least we as a society can do.

It will never happen of course. There will be no metal detectors in schools anytime soon. There will be more social workers and more crying over the killer and how society failed him. And it will only be a matter of time before there is another shooting in school. At least the grief councillors will be there.

Arthur Weinreb is an author, columnist and Associate Editor of Canada Free Press. His work has appeared on, Men's News Daily, Drudge Report,, Glenn Beck and The Rant. Arthur can be reached at:

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