Metal detectors to screen students in Orange County

Random screenings to take place at 184 Orlando-area schools

ORLANDO, Fla. - Random metal-detector screenings will be conducted at all Orange County Public Schools through the end of the school year after two recent weapon scares, officials announced on Wednesday.

[AUDIO:  Superintendent's message to parents]

Orange County Public Schools Superintendent Barbara Jenkins said students at all 184 schools will be subject to the screenings, starting Tuesday, until June 5, the last day of school for the district.

In a statement, OCPS said Jenkins made the move to provide another level of protection for students and comfort for their parents.

"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," OCPS said in the statement.

School officials said the extra security level was raised as an option after the district collaborated with local and state law enforcement and security experts in recent weeks. If the system goes smoothly, officials will determine if it stays for another year.

The random screenings will be done by security personnel in cooperation with school administrators, with sensitivity to its effect on students, officials said.

School officials say students may experience delays getting to their first class on time.

"There could be a delay," said Safety and Security Director Doug Tripp. "We are still in the planning process the goal is to make it as efficient as possible."

A Colonial High School student was arrested Wednesday on suspicion of having a loaded gun at school.  Last week, a loaded gun magazine was found on the campus of Glenridge Middle School.

Elsewhere in Central Florida, Osceola and Marion County use handheld metal detectors when a threat is present at the principal's discretion.

In Seminole County, the coordinator of school safety said they have no policy on metal detectors and don't have future plans to install them, however, the Journey Academy alternative school in Sanford do have metal detectors that middle school and high school students must walk through daily, officials said.

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