Metal detectors normally used to catch hijackers at airports or gunmen in courthouses will now be used to nab youths trying to smuggle weapons to class when New York City public schools open next fall.

The pilot project at five city high schools is part of a wider plan to provide greater security in a school system plagued by drugs, crime and violence.Last year 1,500 weapons-related incidents were reported at the city's 974 schools. When statistics are compiled for the school year now ending, officials expect a 10 percent rise in such incidents.

Some students have shot and knifed each other. Others have been victims of armed intruders at school and warring gangs on campus. Educators are also targets: around 1,000 teachers have been attacked so far this year, about 100 of whom needed hospital treatment.

"We have an emergency," teachers union leader Sandra Feldman said. "Teachers are very upset, very concerned, very frightened."