How bad an idea is this?
Metal detectors are to be installed at hundreds of schools in England as part of a drive to reduce knife crime.
I see six objections.
1. It's not the job of schools to stop young people carrying weapons. It should be the job of the police. I say "should be" because they seem to have lost sight of this.
2. Cost. The money spent on these, and on searching pupils could be spent on other things, like teaching them something.
3. Effectiveness. The kids most likely to be caught by this scheme are the terrified, bullied ones who carry knives only for self-defence. The real criminals will either switch from knives to less detectable weapons such as acid or pepper sprays, or simply not turn up to school.
4. Possible counter-productivity. Put yourself in the shoes of a rebellious but law-abiding teenager. Mightn't he think: "if I'm going to be treated like a criminal, I might as well act like one." I would.
5. Changing the culture of schools. Metal-detectors send a message: schools are not places of learning, devoted to the cooperative pursuit of knowledge. They are merely yet another site at which the iron fist of the state treats its subjects with contempt and suspicion.
6. Liberty. This represents a growing tendency to harrass and stigmatize law-abiding people. Everyone is to be treated like a criminal. Except, that is, criminals.