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Illegal items found in students’ backpacks after mandatory checks implemented

In an effort to increase school safety, one high school in the Coachella Valley has implemented mandatory backpack checks for all students. However, despite the effort, officials say that illegal items are still being found in students' backpacks.

The policy was rolled out last week after several reports of weapons and prohibited items on the campus forced lockdowns. While some reports turned out to be false alarms, the district decided to implement the policy to prevent future incidents.

CVUSD Board Member Joey Acuna says that the searches are already turning up illegal items, including drugs.

"We're searching backpacks, and we still found kids with drugs. And they knew that they were going to search their backpacks, and they still found people with drugs. I don't know what's going through the heads of some of our kids right now. I'm at a loss for that," he said.

While the district has not specified what kind of drugs were found or how much, parents and students are expressing concerns about the effectiveness of the policy. Some parents are worried that the mandatory backpack checks are causing students to miss out on their education due to long lines and delayed start times.

Parent advocate Yolanda Corona said, "These students are missing out on their education. Is this going to continue? For our students to be showing up to first period to second period, these are the periods that the students are missing."

Some students also feel that the policy does not make them any safer. "That doesn't help at all. They're gonna check the bags but they don't check what the students have in their pockets. The student can literally have a gun in their pocket and no one will know because they don't check that," said one student.

Despite acknowledging flaws in the plan, such as the fact that it only works if they search everything, board members say they are not willing to support measures like metal detectors or school resource officers due to the high cost. "I still do not support resource officers on the schools," said Acuna.

District leaders say they will continue to improve the policy, potentially with training from the security office to do a better job of checking backpacks.

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Jake Ingrassia

Joining News Channel 3 and CBS Local 2 as a reporter, Jake is excited to be launching his broadcasting career here in the desert. Learn more about Jake here.


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