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L.A. Unified looks at tightening campus security following Gardena High shooting

January 18, 2011 |  6:46 pm

Los Angeles Unified School District is investigating whether improvements need to be made to the district's policy for randomly checking students with hand-held metal detectors.

The announcement by incoming Supt. John Deasy came after two students were injured by gunfire inside a classroom after a handgun inside a student’s backpack discharged.

"The wand system was put in place across L.A. Unified several years ago, and that was the policy here," Deasy said, referring to Gardena High School where the shooting occurred.

Gardena High School used a random code to decide which students to screen with the hand-held wands, he said. Screenings are conducted daily, though the number of students scanned is not made public.

At a meeting Tuesday night, district staff and school principals are set to begin looking at tightening the campus security net, possibly increasing the number of students screened per day, Deasy said.

The meeting will also examine the district’s automated parent notification system, which issues text message or phone calls in campus emergencies.

On Tuesday, many parents waiting anxiously outside Gardena High complained of delays or never receiving a call or text about the situation.

"The system notifies parents with the number that students give us. Sometimes they are inaccurate," he said. "If there were delays, I personally apologize."

Deasy said about 20 students were inside the classroom at the time of the shooting. Although he declined to give specifics about the victims or the suspect because they are minors, he described both victims as "two active and very good students who were doing their work."

School officials have also said there were "no red flags" on the 17-year-old student who allegedly brought the gun to campus, nothing to indicate that he posed a risk.

Authorities, meanwhile, are investigating whether the suspect has gang ties or was bullied or threatened and felt a need to carry a loaded gun.

"It's a horrible, horrible tragedy," Deasy said.

School will reopen Wednesday with the same security policy and extra guards. Grief counselors will be on scene. An 8 a.m. meeting is also scheduled on campus for parents.


Photos: Gardena High School shooting

Boy shot at Gardena High is on track team, excels in sports

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

-- Shan Li at Gardena High School