by Sofia Colignon | news editor
Even though metal detecting wands have been available to the campus since 2015, administration has only recently begun conducting random searches using the hand-held devices.
NEISD announced over the summer that students could face random searches once the school year began. This was in addition to requiring students to carry clear backpacks and the addition of a buzzer system at each school entrance.
“[The searching] will be random—we have an expectation given to us by the amount of classrooms that we do per month. There are different times that we’ll do this, so, as far as how often, I really can’t say—we have a district expectation given to us where we will select random classrooms each month for the wanding,” Assistant Principal Sean Reno said.
The first campus wanding took place last month.
“Something we did last time, was we brought in a student into the classroom, and a female student would be wanded by a female administrator. This last time a male was wanded by a male administrator during the same time, so we did both with each classroom,” Reno said.
APs will also bring the search dog along with the wand to search classrooms every once in a while.
“We do have a couple of drug dogs that are in our district. They come on to our campus at different times, they will work together: the dog does comes in, and what we do when the NEPD officers randomly select a classroom, is we pull the students out, all the belongings are in, and the dog searches the classroom,” Reno said.
Although the main purpose for the wanding is to search for weapons, other prohibited items have been found as well.
“It’s for weapons. Now, do the same consequences take place for somebody if they had another prohibited item? Yes, just as if we walked into the restroom looking for a student and we saw someone with a prohibited item—there’s consequences for that even though that wasn’t the reason why we went into that restroom. So it may not be the purpose for it, but maybe it’s an unintended consequence, or another result of the search could be that someone has another prohibited item on them,” Reno said.
The office will take the appropriate measures depending on what type of item they find.
“We’re not gonna publicly shame somebody in front of their peers if we find something small. Now, if we find something that would be a danger to our campus, we obviously have to react immediately,” Reno said.
If anything is found during the search, the administration aims to handle the situation as privately as possible.
“I’m just gonna tell you this—we’re not here to embarrass you or anything like that. We’re gonna handle things appropriately, we try to treat our students with respect, and people mess up. We’re going to take care of our students and, as a bottomline with this—if we find something that’s a juul or a lighter—that’s something else that’s being picked up—well, a lighter traditionally has been a two-hour Saturday detention, so I would hang on to the lighter, I would have the student step back outside, just like everybody else who got wanded, nobody’s gonna know that we found something on them. And then I may call that student down later on that day to handle that,” Reno said.
APs haven’t found anything yet that could potentially be a threat to the school.
“Our students have been great. We have a great place, we have a great campus, these are expectations implemented district-wide. One of the pieces for our campus is that we want to keep [it] safe, we wanna be as transparent as possible with our students, talk things through with our students, just like we have the Remind 101 to talk about the drills, or when we did a video during lunchtime,” Reno said.
According to Reno, the staff always tries to make sure that students know they can trust the administration.
“We try to be as open and honest as possible with all of our drills, so the key to keeping our campus safe, in my opinion, is the implementation of all of the district policies, and having open communication with our students, so we’re pretty early into the process, but those are going to be foundational expectations for our campus,” Reno said.
Overall, the wanding is just another safety measure that was announced over the summer before the school year started.
“This is meant to keep our campus safe—we have our ‘4, 3, 2, 1’ we go into the classrooms, we have the Remind 101, we talk about our drills through JagTV. Just understand that some of these things do come up, and we find things that maybe, isn’t the sole purpose of what the wand piece is for, ” Reno said.
If a student has any concerns regarding this issue, they can go talk to the administration.
“The biggest thing about this is communicate with us. We try to do our communication piece, we wanna be as open and honest as possible. If a student has any questions, they can come and ask us. We’re here to help out,” Reno said.