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    Poly High Students Encounter Searches of Backpacks & Bookbags Feb. 10 After Two Guns Confiscated About A Week Earlier; Principal Says Searches Will Continue Sporadically For Remainder Of Year

    (February 11, 2005) -- With LBPD looking on, students at LB Polytechnic High School had their backpacks and bookbags searched by school staff as they entered campus on Feb. 10 after guns were found on campus on Feb. 1 and Feb. 3.

    A reader alerted us to a note dated Feb. 10, signed by Poly High Principal Shawn Ashley and sent home with students, which stated:

    Today [Feb. 10] the Long Beach Police Department assisted the staff of Long Beach Poly to search the students as they entered campus. This measure was taken to keep your child safe on our campus. Last week we had two firearms confiscated from students. This alarmed our staff and we want to send a strong message to our students, parents and community that we are serious about safety at Poly High School.

    These searches will continue sporadically for the remainder of the year.

    LBUSD spokesman Chris Eftychiou told that Poly High staff searched backpacks, bookbags and the like (which he said most students carry). There were no "pat down" searches. The searches were conducted at three entrances. Students stepped aside and the backpack/bookbag searches took about five seconds each, Mr. Eftychiou said, adding that no firearms were confiscated.

    "When we have any indication that the safety of youngsters might be compromised, we take every precaution possible. The main goal of this action was not to arrest students. It was to send an important message that our schools will continue to be islands of safety. No student should expect to bring a weapon to school and not face very serous consequences. We refuse to look the other way," Mr. Eftychiou said.

    LBPD Public Information Officer Greg Schirmer tells that on Feb. 1, a student was arrested for allegedly bringing a loaded handgun onto the Poly High PAAL (Poly Academy of Accelerated Learning) satellite facility in the 1500 block of LB Blvd. On February 3, a student at the main Poly campus (Atlantic Ave. b/w Anaheim St. and PCH) reported his backpack was taken, then retrieved from a trash can with a handgun inside. (The student in the Feb. 3 incident was not arrested).

    "Poly High staff conferred with LBPD...and police suggested a wider search of the school," Mr. Eftyschiou said. Metal detectors were not used, although they are used from time to time and can be more time consuming, Mr. Eftychiou said.

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