The school shooting in Connecticut brought a lot of attention to school safety. Several are debating the best way to go about it.
Some small schools in South Dakota have already taken big steps in school security. McLaughlin has a metal detector.
"There were even people wondering, 'Why? Why are we doing this? Why are we getting the metal detectors,'" McLaughlin school counselor Linda Stenberg said.
Students, staff, even administrators need to pass through a metal detector before entering the building.
"We really don't run into too many issues. We do run into cell phones and things like that. It's more of a precaution," McVay said.
McVay doesn't apologize for the precaution. He says the school has had a metal detector for about five years. The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe provided them to schools on the reservation.
"I think this is important that you have safety nets put in place," McVay said.
The metal detectors created some mixed reactions at first.
"Shock, was definitely surprised,” Stenberg said, “Took some time to get used to having them every day with our security guards that we have here."
"We didn't get the point; we basically didn't like it," senior Frank Yellow Fat said.
But those were initial reactions. As students came to school each day and staff came to work, they started getting used to passing through security.
"As the years went by, then you see all these shootings going on. Then you see why we have these metal detectors," Yellow Fat said.
McVay can't think of a time security guards found a gun as they ran people through the school's metal detectors. But with kindergarten through 12th grade students under his watch, he's OK with airing on the side of caution. Stenberg agrees.
"Absolutely. Any deterrent now days that you can have, especially for the safety of our students and for the staff, why not? I can't see a negative in having it," Stenberg said.
The school is planning additional safety measures. People can only enter through one door where a security guard and the metal detector sit. Administrators want to lock all the doors and add a buzzer system equipped with a camera for anyone wanting to enter.
The school also practices and works with law enforcement on lockdown procedures. It considers the metal detector another piece to its overall security plan.
"Now days, the way that things are in the world, the little extra security added I think gives peace of mind. Not that I think we'd ever have a problem here but you never know. Look at some of the other communities that have had problems and never expected it to happen either," Stenberg said.
"We all have to do the best thing that we can for the students to make them safe and secure. I have five children of my own and I have a grandchild so I think it's important," McVay said.
Not that he'd say other schools should take the same steps as McLaughlin. Safety in general, he argues, should be at the front of administrators’ minds.
McVay wasn't working at McLaughlin when the district added a metal detector but he was working for another school on the reservation that added one too. He says he doesn't remember many complaints at the time.