Safety Report: Metal Detectors Ineffective At LAUSD Schools

Safety Report: Metal Detectors Ineffective At LAUSD Schools

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — New school safety recommendations include doing away with metal detectors at Los Angeles Unified School District campuses, and bringing in more mental health resources and a new reporting system to make it easier for students to report if a classmate is carrying a weapon.


The report was issued by City Attorney Mike Feuer’s Los Angeles School Safety Blue Ribbon Panel, which was formed after the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida on Feb. 14.


The report recommends that the district suspend the practice of “wanding” students with a hand-held metal detector to search for weapons at all middle schools and high schools until it performs a full audit of the program, but Feuer said it was not a position held by every panel member.


The report found that of the 385 knives and firearms confiscated at LAUSD schools in 2016-17, a metal detector wand was involved in only five confiscations, and most confiscations happened when students came forward to present information to adults on campus.


Aside from being ineffective, the report said some students found the searches caused a breakdown in trust between students and adults on campus, and that they would be less likely to share information with adults.


Instead, the panel recommended a text or app-based reporting system so students could alert school officials about a classmate carrying a weapon.


Feuer also addressed the issue of arming teachers in schools, which is not included in the panel’s recommendations but which President Donald Trump has called for.


“It seemed to me, from hearing those hearings, the panelists felt that putting more weapons on school campuses, especially in the hands of those who may not be fully equipped to use them in a crisis, was itself a recipe for less safe campuses, not more safe campuses,” Feuer said. “It’s sort of a facile response to a much more complex problem.”


Other recommendations from the panel, which included Los Angeles School Police Chief Steven Zipperman, was that campuses should have just a single point of entry, more mental health resources, better teacher-student relations so no student feels isolated, and better assurances from parents that guns are securely stored.


(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)