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L.A. School Board Votes to End Use of Wand Metal Detectors in Random Student Searches

Members of the Los Angeles Unified School District are discussing several new proposals to address growing concerns about guns in schools.

Among the proposals put forward is a plan that would hold parents accountable for safely storing guns at home. The measure passed at Tuesday's meeting.

That means the school superintendent will update the student handbook to include information on their legal duty to safely store firearms at home. They will also provide training videos and a letter will be sent home to parents about their obligation to keep their guns out of the hands of their kids. The letter will be required to be returned with a signature acknowledging their role in storing their weapons.

"My peers and I talk about exit strategies like it's small talk," student Sabba Johnson said at the school board meeting. "We visibly stiffen when we learn that one of our classmates has a gun in their home, but we become paralyzed with fear when we learn that they know where it's stored because we know that there's a possibility that their parent isn't storing it correctly or just doesn't know how."

The resolution was one of more than 30 recommendations made by the city attorney's panel on safety created after the Parkland school shooting in Florida.

The board of LAUSD also voted to end the use of wand metal detectors in random student searches.

The item on the agenda at the board's regular meeting Tuesday calls for the practice to be phased out by July 1, 2020. It requests Superintendent Austin Beutner to propose an alternative.

Critics say the random searches are ineffective and demeaning.

Ana Mendoza, staff attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Southern California, praised the board's decision.

"We are grateful for the Board of Education's resolution to sunset the random metal detector searches,” Mendoza said, according to a LAUSD news release. “This marks an important victory for all Los Angeles students. We look forward to working with Los Angeles Unified to implement policies that are evidence-based, supportive and effective in keeping students safe.”

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