The use of hand-held metal detectors requires only slightly more space than that already occupied by the operator and the scannee. Unlike portal metal detectors, hand-held metal detectors are not nearly so sensitive to their surroundings; their sensitive zone is usually within just a few inches of the device's paddle. Metal walls, elevators, fluorescent lights, and plumbing that can affect portals do not usually have any affect on hand-held devices. The school must provide enough space for the students who are waiting to be scanned and about a 6- by 6-foot area for the actual scanning process. It is also necessary to have a table or other stable structure for students to place their purses and bookbags on and for them to lean on when they lift their shoes to be scanned. (See the sections about procedures for the operator and instructions for the scannee.)
It is not recommended that this scanning process take place in a private room or area. To avoid possible misconduct, accusations of misconduct, or a confrontation with a student who does end up actually having a weapon, all of the weapon detection program functions should be performed in view of everybody else. The exception is the unusual circumstance wherein a person is suspected of hiding some type of contraband in a private area of their body.
Research Report: The Appropriate and Effective Use of Security Technologies in U.S. Schools