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Gardena High School violated district's weapons-check policy, top LAUSD official says

January 19, 2011|By Tony Barboza | Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

Gardena High School, where police said a student accidentally discharged a firearm in a classroom and wounded two fellow classmates Tuesday, violated school-district policy because it did not conduct random weapons searches every day, incoming LAUSD Supt. John Deasy said Wednesday morning.

Deasy said a review by district administrators showed school-district policy required random weapons searches daily.

At Gardena High School, Deasy said, "that did not occur."

"I can't tell you that that would have discovered this individual," he said, but the district will be interviewing staff responsible for security at the school to determine why the policy was not being followed.

Deasy made the comments outside the high school before a meeting with parents. School and district administrators planned to discuss Tuesday's shooting, the condition of the wounded students and security at the school, among other topics.

On Wednesday morning, staff members searched backpacks and scanned many students with metal detectors as they entered the school gates. A long line of students snaked a few hundred feet outside the school, moving slowly before the morning bell rang.

Students said that before Tuesday's shooting, weapons checks rarely took place, though school officials would routinely screen students for dress-code violations, like low-cut shirts.

Cortney Hullaby, an 11th-grader, said that last week one of her teachers asked students if they felt safe in any of their classes.

"I said no, because you never know what someone has in their backpack," she said, "So I don't trust anyone."

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