Wands, at a total cost of $1,100, will be used at secondary schools

The Hannibal public school district has taken another step in its ongoing efforts to keep students and staff safe, but before its new metal-detecting wands can be put into service the school board must adopt a policy regarding the use of the devices.

Rich Stilley, business manager for the school district, advised the Hannibal Board of Education during its April meeting that he had ordered six of the wands. Earlier this week Stilley confirmed to the Courier-Post that the wands not only had arrived but “are labeled and ready for service.”

“We have been investigating and pricing equipment for the last six months and we are excited to move forward with these additional security measures,” he said.

The wands, however, cannot yet be utilized because the school district lacks a formal policy regarding the use of such devices.

“We needed to draft a policy from scratch,” said Stilley.

Stilley has now crafted a wand policy that he will present to the school board at its upcoming meeting on Wednesday, May 16, at the school district’s administrative offices, located beneath Korf Gymnasium. Next week’s meeting is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m.

According to Stilley, the policy has been “drafted to allow for (the wands to be used at) any district building, event or location.”

“However, I anticipate the primary (wand) use in the future would be at the secondary level (school buildings) or potentially events,” he said.

Who can expect to be “wanded” when they visit a school or event in the future?

“The effectiveness of this program will be measured in the procedures that are developed to assure the auspice of the policy is maintained,” said Stilley. “I anticipate a combination of daily, regular and random screenings of students and potentially patrons and staff based on the venue and situation.”

Is there concern that “wanding” will create congestion?

“I am anticipating that initially we may have some delays,” said Stilley. “However, as the process develops and improves, delays will be mitigated.”

A number of people will likely be trained on how to operate the wands, including “administrators, deans, school resource officers and other staff as needed,” advised Stilley.

The wands cost $186.36 apiece or total of $1,118.16. And while individual parents and parent groups have offered to raise money to be used by district officials to enhance security, the wands were paid for by the school district out of a budget line item designated for safety and security.

Reach reporter Danny Henley at danny.henley@courierpost.com