Friday, Oct. 19, 2018 | 11:02 a.m.
High school and middle school students will now be subject to random searches to discourage them from bringing weapons on campus, the Clark County School District announced today.
“I promised this community several weeks ago that I would take action, and this is one step we can take to ensure our students will be more safe tomorrow than they are today,” Superintendent Jesus F. Jara said at a news conference today.
Starting this month, School District Police officers will be present several times a week at random schools as administrators conduct random searches of students using handheld metal detectors, officials said. Searches will occur as students enter campus and in some random classrooms, officials said.
To ensure searches are random, a computer program will choose the schools and classrooms that will be searched weekly, officials said.
“This is key not only to prevent profiling, but also so that students know that at any given time they might be searched. This will serve as a disincentive for students to bring a weapon on campus,” the district said in a statement.
If a basic search indicates further screening is needed, such as a pat-down, a same-gender staff member will conduct the search “in a respectful manner,” officials said. Only the searcher, a witness and the student will be present for additional screenings to protect student privacy, officials said.
“In addition to these new procedures, we encourage students to report any rumors of weapons, potential fights and other safety concerns to school police or to the SafeVoice NV app,” School District Police Chief Jim Ketsaa said.
Ketsaa also asked parents to check their children’s backpacks before they head off for school and to secure weapons at home.
The random searches are just one strategy the district is employing to improve school safety, officials said. A working group of principals, police officers, community leaders and others will present other recommendations to the School Board by Dec. 1.