BROCKTON — Every morning, all Brockton High School students are required to file through the school’s four main entrances and through a metal detector before they can enter the building and go to their first class.
“Every morning our students walk through metal detectors that only detect large weapons,” said Morgan Thatcher, a BHS teacher, alumni and parent at Wednesday night’s school committee meeting on BHS safety and security.
She said she found a 4-inch pocketknife in a student’s backpack last year since the metal detectors don’t pick up small weapons like knives.
“When I asked about the metal detectors, I was told they were too sensitive so they had to turn them down,” Thatcher said at the meeting on Wednesday, Jan. 31. “We teachers show up everyday even though our safety is not guaranteed.”
The Brockton School Committee approved the use of metal detectors at the high school in the fall of 2021 at an emergency meeting on Oct. 23 of that year after a series of gun-related incidents at the school.
“If you keep ignoring our cries for help, you’re going to continue to lose teachers,” Thatcher said at the meeting last Wednesday.
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BHS police say metal detectors are too sensitive
Brockton Police officials who work at the school confirmed that the detectors’ sensitivity had deliberately been turned down.
“The reason why the sensitivity’s low is the number of students, and it’s set to pick up bombs and firearms,” said Brockton School Police Officer Jason Mosley at the Jan. 31 meeting.
He said if they increase the sensitivity, it will take longer for students to get into the building, and they’d need to come to school at 6 a.m. to account for the sheer number of students.
“You’re going to have to change the time as far as getting students in the school,” Mosley said.
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Lines for metal detectors stalled students
After the district first introduced the metal detectors, lines of students waiting to walk through their respective building’s metal detectors could make students late for their first class.
“The line can wrap around” outside the building, said Wacilla Moniz, a junior at BHS, at a public forum in July 2023. “Kids would miss class periods because they take too long.”
Moniz said getting into the building could either take five minutes or an hour.
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Many doors in the school are left unmonitored and teachers said at the Jan. 31 school committee meeting that students will open doors to the school and let people — both students and non-students — into the building without going through the metal detectors.
Students also leave the building during the day to go to restaurants across Belmont Street. Business owners said they cause chaos and destruction in their restaurants.