LAUSD to End Random Weapons Searches

Random backpack searches are poised to become a thing of the past at Los Angeles Unified’s secondary schools, according to US News and World Report.

The school board moved Tuesday to end randomized metal detector searches, a policy put in the place after a spate of school shootings in the 1990s. Superintendent Austsin Beutner has been directed to develop an alternative plan by July 2020.

Critics, including the Brothers, Sons, Selves Coalition, had long complained that the searches are intrusive and treat students like common criminals. But if there’s a reasonable alternative to keeping kids safe, some board members say they haven’t seen it.

"A fair, nondiscriminatory, and respectful wanding program provides increased safety for students and staff," board member Scott M. Schmerelson said. “It may not be the perfect tool, but until a reasonable and effective alternative is proposed, I sincerely believe that random wanding serves as a deterrent for students who may consider bringing a weapon to school."

A recent study by the Students Not Suspects Coalition found that randomized searches turned up few weapons last year — and zero guns. But proponents of the policy say its primary advantage is deterrence.

Given the sheer number of deadly school shootings in recent years, the timing of this move by the country’s second largest school district is somewhat remarkable.