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School security

THE stabbing of Ann Maguire has prompted renewed debate about security in schools.

Some have called for greater use of airport-style metal detectors and frisking of pupils for weapons, measures which have been in place since 2008 in several UK schools with a history of violence.

Facing security checks is a common experience for pupils in American schools, where children are routinely screened to see if they are carrying guns or knives.

Some US states spend millions of dollars a year on school security including guards, video cameras, panic buttons, metal detectors and X-ray equipment.

While assaults by pupils on teachers remain rare in Scotland, knives, firearms, chisels and even a hacksaw have been confiscated from primary and secondary pupils in the last three years.

In one incident, a pupil arrived in class with a spoon sharpened to form a blade, while metal bars, a pool cue and scissors have also been brought to schools.

Some 55 campus police officers are in place in 65 secondary schools across Scotland. Their role is not to police the classrooms but help steer young people away from antisocial activity and crime.

However, research carried out in 2009 found their presence on site increased the feeling of safety for pupils and staff, noting that "some educational staff were reassured by the campus officer(s) presence".

Contextual targeting label: 
Education

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