In a year when violence at Detroit Public Schools has made headlines, the district has agreed to stop random weapons sweeps and cut back on other security measures as part of a settlement in a lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union, reports the city’s Free Press. Under the agreement, school officials may no longer conduct sweeps to search students’ clothing, backpacks, cars or other items unless they have reasonable suspicion that a student has violated school rules and that the search will reveal evidence of the violation. Lockers may still be searched randomly because they are school property.
Although metal detectors at school entrances may still be used to detect weapons, the district has agreed not to prolong the searches longer than necessary, according to a court order signed last week by U.S. District Judge Marianne Battani. The settlement, which has some students and parents worried about safety, comes two months after the district hired 50 laid-off Detroit police to help patrol the schools due to an upsurge in crime on school grounds. Detroit public schools reported 151 cases of students caught carrying a concealed weapon in 2003, the most recent year for which data is available from the district.