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MPS committee votes down proposal to buy new X-ray scanners for school security

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- A Milwaukee Public School Board committee voted down a proposal Tuesday to buy new X-ray scanners for school security.

The 16 machines would have replaced existing ones that no longer work.

Parents, teachers and students spent about two hours at the meeting speaking out against the scanners.

One sophomore said, “They take away from our learning time. They subject us to pat-downs and make us feel inferior.”

Advocates say having security like that makes kids feel like criminals.

“It’s further perpetuating the school-to-prison pipeline and has students feeling like animals in cages,” said Cendi Trujillo-Tena, the organizing director of Leaders Igniting Transformation.

In its plea to the Board to approve the purchase, the district said, “X-ray machines have proven to be more efficient and effective and less intrusive than is physically searching a bag.”

“This is just one component of supporting safety in our schools for staff, our students and visitors,” said Dr. Keith Posley, the MPS superintendent.

There’s not much research, however, that shows security machines make schools safer.

According to the nonpartisan, nonprofit education research agency WestEd, “There is little evidence to support [metal detectors’] effectiveness at preventing school shootings or successfully detecting weapons at schools…Students in schools with metal detectors, which typically are schools with greater proportions of students of color, are more likely to perceive violence and disorder and less likely to feel safe.”

Opponents of the X-ray machines say the money should be spent on mental health resources, more counselors and more social workers.

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