POLITICS
05/22/2013 06:50 pm ET | Updated May 19, 2014

Orlando Schools Introduce Metal Detector Screenings After Gun Incidents In Florida

Following a slew of recent gun incidents, Florida's Orange County school district has opted to introduce random metal-detector screenings through the end of the school year.

The metal detector searches in Orlando schools represent an "important step" to improve safety, Superintendent Barbara Jenkins said in a phone message sent to parents Wednesday, according to the Orlando Sentinel.

Jenkins added that random screenings will serve to "catch or discourage students who foolishly think" to carry weapons on campus.

"With two recent cases of weapons and munitions found or threatened to be brought onto district campuses, the metal-detection screenings should help prevent this senseless and unsafe behavior," Orange County Public Schools said in a released statement, according to WESH Channel 2.

Earlier Wednesday, a local high school student who officials say brought a loaded gun to school was removed from campus and arrested, the Sentinel reports. The gun scare comes after another incident last week in which a loaded magazine was found in an Orlando middle school trash can, suggesting that a gun may have been brought onto school property.

The announcement is the latest move by administrators to curb gun violence in schools. However, the use of random metal-detector searches is by no means a novel concept.

Osceola and Marion counties -- two nearby counties in central Florida -- also have portable metal detectors on hand to use at the principal's discretion, according to WKMG Local 6.

As two Georgia State University professors note in their report on the impact of such screenings on school violence, the use of metal detectors in schools dates back to the 1980s. The paper, based on case studies at two school districts in Florida, states that the "results indicate that the random search program was effective at preventing students from bringing weapons such as knives and guns to schools."

According to most recent report from the National Center for Education Statistics, 5.2 percent of public schools conducted these random metal-detector screenings during the 2009-2010 school year.

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