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Clark County School District Nixes Plan for Metal Detectors

Nevada's largest school district will not put metal detectors at the entrances of select facilities this fall, as administrators felt the idea was not feasible and did not definitively address safety concerns.

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(TNS) — Metal detectors will not be coming to Clark County School District campuses later this year after all.

The district will not implement a planned pilot program to put walk-through metal detectors at select locations when school starts in August, spokesman Tod Story said.

The district announced in May that it planned to place the detectors at the entrances of certain schools with hopes of reducing the number of weapons brought onto campuses. It never named which schools were under consideration.

CCSD Police data show officers seized 33 guns — 32 handguns and one long gun — in the 2022-23 school year. Officers also confiscated 204 knives and 38 BB guns during the year.

The district uses walk-through and handheld metal detectors on a limited basis, such as at sporting events and certain behavioral programs, but it does not have them as a daily entrance requirement at its large comprehensive schools.

School District Police do not operate the metal detectors and only respond when school staff monitoring the machines hit on something that needs to be confiscated, department spokesman Lt. Bryan Zink said.

District officials have said daily use of metal detectors would cause major bottlenecks at school entrances.

But School District Police Chief Mike Blackeye said in May that improved technology has allowed more efficient flow of people through walk-through detectors.

CCSD has been strengthening security in the wake of post-pandemic behavioral issues and high-profile violence districtwide.

Last year, CCSD launched the use of wearable instant alert systems, or panic buttons. They allow school employees to trigger a lockdown or call for help by pressing a button on a credit card-sized badge.

Additionally, the district told state lawmakers this spring that it had spent or budgeted $79.4 million for security upgrades at about 50 high schools. The measures included surveillance cameras, fencing and establishing single points of entry.

In May, Blackeye and Superintendent Jesus Jara mentioned allowing only clear backpacks at schools among other security measures the district was researching. But like metal detectors, see-through bags won't be coming soon either.

Escobedo Middle School in northwest Las Vegas recently announced it would require transparent bags for the coming year, with exceptions for sports and music equipment cases, lunch bags, medical item containers and small purses and pouches.

This week, however, the district put out a statement pulling that back.

"After consideration and consultation with principals, we have determined that requiring clear backpacks is not feasible and does not definitively address safety concerns," the statement said. "Any changes for the upcoming school year will be communicated to parents by the district ahead of implementation. The district will not be requiring clear backpacks for the upcoming school year."

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