Metal detectors in SC public schools could soon be required

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – Beginning in the fall of 2018, metal detectors might be a requirement in South Carolina public schools if a bill proposed back in November gets signed into law.

Rep. Wendell Gilliard prefiled the bill on Nov. 9, 2017. Since then, it has been referred to the House Committee of Education and Public Works.

Gilliard said he has always been a proponent for modern technology matching with any problems in today's society.

According to Gilliard, research shows metal detectors are popping up in schools at all levels and why not use something that ensures the safety of both teachers and students.

When it comes to paying for this sort of thing, Gilliard said a study will have to be done to see how much this would cost, but action needs to be taken in the direction of making this happen.

Horry County School Board Chairman Joe Defeo said he is in favor of anything that helps to make schools safer.

"No child has been hurt in a fire in 50 years, yet we do all these things to prevent fires in the schools and that's a good thing, but the fact of the matter is that in today's world you are about 400 more times to be hurt by an active shooter than hurt by a fire, which doesn't really exist anymore," Defeo said.

Any security measure the Horry County School Board has taken to make public schools here safer, according to Defeo, has been seemingly well received by parents, faculty and staff.

Gilliard said this is something he feels very strongly about and the state shouldn't wait for a tragedy to happen before any action is taken.

The bill will have to take a few more routes before getting signed into law. According to Gilliard, both the main committee and the sub committee of Education and Public Works will have to approve the bill.

Then, if that happens, the bill will move to the House floor. If it passes there, the bill will then have to pass through the Senate before finally making it to the governor's desk to be signed into law.

Gilliard said if it goes to the Senate and they make any amendments, the bill would then have to go back to the House to be reviewed and approved again.

However, Gilliard said if there aren't any hiccups in the process, he expects the bill could clear all the potential hurdles and become law before the end of session in June.

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