mains. This task was especially challenging given that Mayor Daley was proposing school safety solutions that were largely unheard of in other cities. In the mayor’s own words, “Chicago led the nation and addressed head-on the challenge of improving school safety—taking steps that at the time many felt went too far.” The first such far-reaching and controversial initiative was a threefold expansion of Chicago police patrols in public high schools in 1990. This initiative received the necessary budgetary commitment from the board and encountered relatively little opposition from the LSCs. According to a board member, a few LSCs actually did oppose police officers in their schools. However, they were outnumbered by people, such as the principal of Tilden, Hazel Steward, who welcomed police involvement in response to serious problems in keeping order. It is also noteworthy that the LSCs did not incur any direct costs for the added patrols—which may also explain why more concerted opposition to the police never materialized.
Mayor Daley’s highest profile initiative—adding walk-through metal detectors to all city high schools—was a completely different matter. Metal detectors were at that time a major issue, in spite of the support the idea also had received from Jesse Jackson. A major concern was that implementation of the metal detectors impinged on the schools in ways even more intrusive than the police. Opposition to metal detectors flowed from several other concerns. Some argued that metal detectors projected the image of schools as dangerous places and drove a wedge of distrust between students and staff. A board member noted that “some of the parents didn’t like the idea.” They objected “that this wasn’t a good image for the schools.” Some student advocates further argued that detectors represented a violation of student rights. However, the most telling opposition came from school administrators, who questioned whether metal detectors were needed in their schools, whether they merited the costs in terms of manpower (i.e., trained personnel to operate them and teachers and volunteers to secure unmonitored entrances to school buildings), and especially whether the time taken away from instruction was justified to clear students through the detectors each time they entered the schools. The process of moving students through the detectors could take more than an hour each morning.
Mayor Daley and his subordinates adopted several strategies to neutralize the political opposition to metal detectors. First, the mayor, with the assistance of the school patrol units that he helped establish, amassed and disseminated the statistical information necessary to show that weapons and violent crime in schools were a serious problem. For example, in fall 1991 (September 26, 1991), the school patrol unit reported through a news release that during their first year of operation “they made 153 arrests for carrying guns and 380 arrests for carrying knives and the