Some Newport News parents believe metal detectors should be used consistently after Michigan school shooting

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Posted at 5:12 PM, Dec 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-01 22:43:40-05

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. - How do you feel about your student passing through a metal detector to get into school? That’s the big debate Wednesday after the most recent school shooting in Michigan.

News 3 spoke with a parent who shared his opinion.

Robert Brown, a Huntington Middle School parent, said, "We need to use them; we need to use them."

Brown believes metal detectors should be used every day after his 12-year-old daughter was in the same building as an active shooting at Heritage High School in September.

Currently, students are only scanned through these detectors on random days and times.

"Talking to my daughter right after the shooting happened at the school, she had nightmares, and she kept saying, 'I don't want to go back to school,'" said Brown.

The Brown family still battles with worry, fear and anxiety, and that's why he wants metal detectors to be normalized in the entire school district.

"I don't want kids to think they're in a jail or prison-like situation, but I do want them to feel secure," said Brown.

News 3 caught up with Dr. Sarah Williams, a psychotherapist, who said while metal detectors may provide some peace of mind, there may be other pitfalls.

"We first need to examine the perception of safety and there is actually a connection between feelings of being unsafe and mental health difficulties," said Dr. Williams.

After the most recent school shooting in Michigan, Brown said he knows exactly how those parents feel.

Security wands and walk-thru metal detectors are used at all middle and high schools in the Newport News Public Schools district.

The district tells us a random selection to use these detectors is more effective than using them all day, every day.

Related: News 3 investigates school safety after shooting at Newport News high school