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Multiple incidents involving guns prompt weapons-policy update from Robbinsdale School Board

The vote came after the community expressed outrage at the district's handling of incidents involving guns at schools in recent weeks.

NEW HOPE, Minnesota — Monday night, the Robbinsdale Area Schools Board unanimously voted in favor of updating its school weapons policy. 

The updated policy puts them in compliance with state law. 

"Those minimal changes will put us in compliance but does not stop us from expanding on the suggestions that have come forth on the policy," said Sharon Brooks Green, school board director. 

The vote came after the community expressed outrage at the district's handling of incidents involving guns at schools in recent weeks.

During the Nov. 21 school board meeting, parents, teachers and even local police chiefs criticized the public safety response from the district following three reports in November of students bringing guns to school. Later that week, the district and Crystal Police confirmed a fourth incident. Police said staff members working with the Adventure Club after-school program reported a BB gun had been discovered in a student's backpack at Neill Elementary School. 

Another incident in November involved a video that had surfaced on social media appearing to show a student with a gun inside of a Sandburg Middle School bathroom. Golden Valley Police said they found out about it through the media, five days after it happened. 

"This work needed to be done," Board Chair Helen Bassett said. 

Director David Boone said the policy is not perfect, but it makes sure they are in compliance with state law as they continue making improvements. 

The policy had not been revised since 2016, but now includes a definition for what is considered a dangerous weapon. 

It also says under possession/use/distribution that "The building administrator shall, as soon as practicable, refer to the criminal justice or juvenile delinquency system, as appropriate, a student who brings a firearm to school unlawfully." 

"I think we'll do some additional thinking about the fact that we are a part of seven cities and so there's seven different law enforcement agencies. So to make sure that we're fostering the best possible relationships with those police is something that we're committed to doing," Bassett said. 

The school district must also electronically report to the Commissioner of Education incidents involving the use or possession of a dangerous weapon in school zones, as required under state law. 

Following the regular meeting, the board met for a work session that included discussions on how to further improve the school weapons policy. The board would have to vote again on any future revisions.  

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