The Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District board has approved revisions, as recommended by the California School Board Association, to the district’s “Weapons and Dangerous Instruments” policy.

The policy, originally adopted in 1998, was created with the intent to keep students and staff free from the fear and danger presented by firearms and other weapons.

“We want to ensure that our campuses remain safe,” said school board vice president Oscar de la Torre.

The revised policy now includes a paragraph encouraging students to promptly report any dangerous objects or suspicious activities they see to school authorities.

It also assures students who do report such activity that their identity will “remain confidential to the extent permitted by law.”

Additionally, the policy now includes information on the possession of pepper spray, which used to have its own separate policy but has now been incorporated into the Weapons and Dangerous Instruments policy.

“The board recognizes that students age 16 or older may legally posses tear gas or tear gas weapons such as pepper spray for the purpose of self-defense,” the policy states. “However, to prevent potential misuse that may harm students or staff, students are prohibited from carrying such items on campus or at school activities.”

Several other details of the Weapons and Dangerous Instruments policy were also changed.

No longer may weapons and imitation firearms not be possessed just “in school buildings, on school grounds or buses, or at a school-related or school-sponsored activity away from school,” but also “while going to or coming from school,” the policy now states.

And the board was also considering no longer prohibiting only “students” from carrying weapons, but also “any person other than authorized law enforcement or security personnel.”

However, the board decided to hold off on making any such changes addressing adults in the Weapons and Dangerous Instruments policy until the board meeting on Thursday, August 23rd — where that issue could be addressed separately.

“Adults and youths should be treated equally when it comes to [being prohibited from] carrying weapons,” said de la Torre.

The revised policy will go into effect immediately.

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