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LETTER: Random searches and the Clark County schools

In her July 27 column about random searches at schools, Amelia Pak-Harvey provides data about the policy’s effectiveness — or lack thereof. Here’s what it boils down to: It does not work. In fact, administrators, school police, teachers, parents and students are far more effective at sniffing out weapons and drugs than these random searches (in their current state) will ever be.

How is this possible? Because, like many well-intentioned security measures put in place in our society, this policy has more to do with preventing political firestorms. Due to public pressure, Clark County School District officials instituted this policy to show they care about student safety, but it’s really nothing more than window dressing.

News headlines loudly declare that searches are taking place at our schools, but what most people don’t realize is how easy it is for students to circumvent them. At our school, searches were conducted only at one of three entry points, which was at the bus drop-off location. And at most, only 25 percent of those students were subjected to them, hence the “random” in random searches. Keep in mind these searches take place only at a handful of schools each day in the fifth-largest school district in the nation. So there are literally tens of thousands of students walking into schools without being wanded.

I am a teacher in the district and a parent of a student, so I’m all about keeping schools safe. This policy, however, does not do that. Instead, it merely provides the illusion of safety at a substantial cost to our already cash-strapped district.

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