like.” The next year they reported confiscating 192 guns (June 5, 1992). The confiscations—many of which resulted from metal detector use— offered evidence of the potential utility of the detectors to prevent serious violence.

Armed with these fresh figures suggesting the need for metal detectors, Mayor Daley pursued a second strategy of minimizing the costs of the metal detectors to the school system. He (June 5, 1992) announced a plan in the early summer of 1992 to purchase from city funds two walk-through metal detectors and four handheld detectors for any Chicago high school that requested them. This initiative did not utilize funds from the Board of Education’s limited budget and thereby preempted fiscal objections on the part of board members. The board responded by voting in September to amend their search and seizure policy and by requiring schools to approve safety and security plans that provided for the use of metal detectors. Tilden was among the first high schools that accepted Mayor Daley’s offer.

While Daley managed to win the support of the school board, the facts about gun seizures and the city’s coverage of costs were not sufficient, even with board support, to persuade many LSCs to install and operate the metal detectors. As of fall 1992—one month before the Tilden shooting—27 of the city’s 75 public high schools and special schools had not yet taken up the city’s offer to provide metal detectors (October 22, 1992). Mayor Daley responded by publicly naming each of these schools at a news conference, thus implying that the school administrators—and not the police department—would henceforth be considered responsible for weapons-related injuries or deaths occurring inside their schools.

A principal (October 22, 1992) of a school that had not chosen to install the detectors was quoted in the media as saying that walk-through metal detectors, as opposed to locker searches and handheld metal detectors, presented “staffing problems.” Another principal (October 23, 1992) observed, “we thought it would send the wrong message, that we won’t trust them and that this is a prison,” adding, “we made a decision not to do it for reasons we thought were valid, and now we have to back off on it because of a guilt trip from the mayor.”

According to Thomas Byrne, the deputy chief of the school patrol units, these 27 schools were not the only ones resisting the metal detectors. He observed that some schools had accepted the metal detectors but were generally not operating them themselves. Rather, these schools operated their detectors selectively on the occasion of random searches that were conducted, with the help of the school patrol units, by the Board Security, who generally utilized their own metal detectors for this purpose.



The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement