Students who refuse to submit to a random search for weapons will face disciplinary action and may be removed from school property, the Clark County School District announced Thursday.
The announcement to randomly search middle- and high-school students with handheld metal detectors follows the fatal shooting of a student outside Canyon Springs High School in September and the confiscation of 11 guns found on students this year.
Searches, which will start in the coming weeks, will be conducted as students arrive to school and while in class. A computer program will decide which school, classroom and students to search, the district said.
When a school is randomly selected, the program will generate a random number, such as 3 or 5, according to the district. That will determine which students to search as they arrive at school — every third student, for example, or every fifth student.
Students entering school will be directed to a search area, advised of the purpose of the search and told to place their belongings on a table.
Students who don’t consent to the search will be disciplined “as they would for breaking any other school rule,” according to district spokeswoman Melinda Malone.
“We will ask them and their parents to come in to meet with the school administrator,” she said in an email.
Staff will search the belongings “only to the degree necessary to affirm that no weapons are concealed therein,” according to procedures.
After removing metal objects from their pockets, students will be scanned with a metal detector.
“Staff conducting the search must use an identical scanning technique/pattern for each student,” the procedures state. “The handheld device should not touch the student’s body during the search.”
If the detector activates, the student will be asked if they have any metal objects. They will either remove the object or the staff member will confirm the object is not a weapon either visually or by “lightly touching” the activated area.
If a search requires physical contact, it will be conducted by someone of the same gender as the student. Students who indicate that they identify with another gender will have a choice on who will search them at that point.
Students who have any prohibited items — not just weapons, but drugs or alcohol, for example — may face disciplinary action.
Students who are searched in randomly selected classrooms will be directed to stand, carry their belongings and form a line near the door. Students will wait to be directed to a search area in the hallway, and teachers will remain in the classroom to monitor behavior of students waiting in line.
The district will document every student searched, as well as the date, time, location and staff member who conducted the search.
“Our goal as educators is always to discover concerns before they become problems by developing strong relationships,” Superintendent Jesus Jara wrote in a letter to parents on Thursday. “I encourage students to report any rumors of weapons, potential fights, and other safety concerns to school police or to the SafeVoice app.”