Parents say new security feature at schools making kids late for class

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A pilot program at local schools is creating quite a headache for students, parents and teachers.

Multiple parents told FOX13 their kids have had to wait outside Cordova High School in long lines due to a new security measure.

The initiative is meant to promote safety, but parents said the long wait is making their kids late for class.

Principal Thorne confirmed to FOX13 that in early November Memphis-Shelby County Schools installed a new, high-tech metal detector at Cordova High School, replacing an older metal detector.

“It’s just part of a pilot program with the district to create a more robust security process,” said Barton Thorne, Cordova High School Principal. “With the tragedies that we see across the nation, our number one priority is always student safety.”

FOX13′s cameras captured lengthy lines snaking out of the school’s parking lot.

Memphis-Shelby County Schools said the backup was due to the new high-tech metal detectors that were installed this month.

The metal detectors are meant to increase safety at school.

“The technology before did not allow us to scan every single student,” said Thorne. “So now, every person who comes into our building is scanned for weapons, and that’s all students, all staff, all visitors. So that creates a little bit of a change for us. We’re having to adjust to that and we’re working on our process and making them more efficient.”

MSCS asked FOX13 not to show the metal detectors on camera but said the program is in a handful of schools in the district.

Anyone who comes into the school is scanned for weapons, including all students, staff, and visitors.

Cordova High’s principal said the school is addressing the issue of students receiving tardy slips because they had to pass through the metal detectors.

He said no tardy slips were given in the first week the program was active.

“This is a new process and they may have to adjust maybe by five or seven minutes, not a lot, we’re not talking about a whole new routine maybe just leave a little bit early,” said Thorne. “Our building opens at 6:45 a.m. and we have no line, no waiting at 6:45 a.m. Students can go to the gym, they can go to the cafeteria, and have free breakfast. And we actually measured it today and our line didn’t start forming until about 7:10 a.m. And so for the most part anybody who’s here between 6:45 a.m. and 7:05 a.m. they walk straight into the building, through security.”

Kids who make it in line by the time school starts will receive passes, the principal said.

But other parents told FOX13′s reporter Carolyn Cerda, they’re concerned about the long wait times to get through the new metal detector making their children tardy.

“I think it should be done; with today’s kids, it’s better for these kids to be safe than sorry,” said parent Charard Bienaime. “With any new system there’s always going to be some type of problem, but until they get it situated at least we know that they’re trying.”