California middle school implements metal detectors

Nov. 26, 2008
Oakland's Cole Middle School to use new security measures on trial basis

OAKLAND Stepped-up security measures, including metal-detection wands and bag checks, soon will be in place at a local middle school in which a gun recently discharged in a classroom, causing no injuries.

When Cole Middle School students return Monday after the weeklong Thanksgiving holiday, they will undergo baggage inspections before entering the building.

Such security measures are rare in Oakland, with the exception of some of the district's alternative schools, but they will be implemented at Cole on a trial basis. Some students and parents, shaken from the gun scare, suggested at a meeting last week that the West Oakland school take such precautions.

"We listened to the opinions of the Cole Village and have tried to reflect their will and wisdom in our decisions," Principal Ivory Brooks wrote in a letter to families. "As we move forward, we will continue to welcome suggestions from the community with respect to this situation and all opportunities for improvement at our school."

District spokesman Troy Flint said that district administrators are considering whether to implement bag inspections at other schools as well.

"The success or failure of this initiative will probably have an impact on whether we expand this program," he said.

Other safety measures to be adopted at Cole include walkie-talkies for teachers and refresher courses on emergency response procedures. Students will be permitted to enter through one door only.

Another meeting to discuss safety is scheduled for 4 p.m. Dec. 1 at Cole, 1011 Union St.

The 13-year-old student accused of bringing a .32-caliber pistol to the school is in custody on five misdemeanor gun possession charges stemming from the incident. The boy also was charged last week in connection with two August robberies, including one in which police said the victim was kidnapped.