Keeping students safe includes metal detectors in Ken-Ton

The methods used to keep kids safe has some parents wondering about a decision to search bags.

TONAWANDA, N.Y. — No one will argue against keeping kids safe in schools.

In the Kenmore Town of Tonawanda School District, the superintendent told the school board in September that steps were being taken to keep kids safe.

As part of the Safety & Security Initiatives, Sabatino Cimato said metal detector wands would be in all buildings. 

“Those are not used on a regular, but I want our students and our families to understand that those will be intermittently used throughout the school year without notice. That’s the point of having those wands. Every now and then we will do a random wanding,” Cimato said. 

In a letter dated October 11, 2022, addressed to Kenmore East families, Cimato informed parents that students were wanded that day and their bags were searched.

Local defense attorney and 2 On Your Side’s legal analyst Barry Covert said bag searches could be problematic.

“I think the courts will have a real problem with them searching bags without any level of suspicion that they believe that they need to do so. Using the scan or wand I believe the courts have deemed to be appropriate generally, but to search a bag and admit you’re doing that without any reasonable suspicion, l to believe there is anything in that bag to now violate that student’s privacy, I think the courts are going to have a real problem if they ever get challenged.”

A spokesman for the district said, “Wanding is conducted without parents being notified ahead of time so that students have no way of knowing when it will take place. This is a way to maximize the effectiveness.”  

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