Education · Fresno

Following heated meetings, Fresno Unified rolls out metal detectors

Anyone wishing to attend a Fresno Unified School District board meeting will have to jump through some extra hoops. 

That goes double if you want trustees to hear from you.

On the agenda for Wednesday’s meeting, the district announced that everyone entering the meeting is subject to metal detector scanning “for the safety of all who attend.” 

The district also clarified that alcohol, illegal drugs, knives and firearms are not permitted inside the Board of Education Room in downtown Fresno. 

Board Policy 5154.12 outlines the search and seizure rules for the district, including the following on metal detector use: 

“The district may use metal detectors on school campuses and off campus at school activities. The equipment will be used in a reasonable manner which will minimize the intrusion of privacy, and maintain respect for all students.” 

This policy is being implemented after the last board meeting at the beginning of the month was cut short amid disorder and tumult. 

Many members of the public attended and called for Trustee Veva Islas to resign after she posted a controversial message on Twitter which celebrated some short-term infertility issues of men who contracted COVID-19. 

The public comment period was particularly heated, causing Board President Elizabeth Jonasson Rosas to call for multiple recesses before ultimately ending the meeting without hearing from all public speakers.

In addition to the new use of metal detectors – and in turn following the chaotic public comment portion of the last meeting – the board has moved all unscheduled public comment to the end of its meeting. 

Previously, the board had taken unscheduled communication for anyone wishing to address a matter not on the agenda at an early time. The board offered that communication period following its segment for the consent agenda. 

Now the board will hold unscheduled public comment after all other items on the agenda have been dealt with. 

The board has also deleted the board/superintendent communication period from the agenda, which served as a time for board members to freely discuss any issues of their choosing.

Daniel Gligich is a reporter for The San Joaquin Valley Sun, focusing on Fresno State Athletics and the southern San Joaquin Valley. Email him at daniel.gligich@sjvsun.com.