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Vape sensors, drug dogs, ID badges: Arizona's largest school district considers new safety protocols

Mesa Public Schools has devised a list of recommended safety measures the largest school district should consider implementing to further protect students.

MESA, Ariz. — Mesa Public Schools is considering implementing extra safety protocols to further protect the thousands of students who attend the state's largest school district.

During Tuesday's meeting before the district's Governing Board, officials recommended funding more safety measures to keep harmful drugs and weapons off of Mesa's campuses.  

The list of recommended safety measures included the following:

  • Having all students wear visible ID badges
  • Sensors that can detect vaping in school bathrooms
  • Technology to help police locate an active shooter on campus
  • Online monitoring of social media posts
  • Tracking student ridership on school buses
  • Installing security camera monitors in the front offices of schools
  • Random campus searches by drug-sniffing dogs

Superintendent Andi Fourlis told the school board that there may be some liability issues involved with bringing drug dogs on campus so the recommendation needs to be further researched.

MPS already utilizes hundreds of security cameras throughout the district's campuses and buses, which officials said have helped to reduce vandalism and mitigate behavior problems.

The school board did not take any formal action in implementing these recommendations during Tuesday's meeting.

MPS would not be the first Valley district to introduce stricter safety protocols to its campuses.

Tempe Union's Mountain Pointe High School temporarily used metal detectors and conducted bag checks on campus earlier this year after the school was the target of online threats.

During the 2022-2023 school year, several campuses throughout Arizona have been subjected to threats, lockdowns, and the presence of firearms. Some Arizona students have been arrested within the last year for allegedly plotting to commit violent acts at their schools.

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