LAUSD announces updated safety plans following fatal shooting at Uvalde, Texas elementary school

LOS ANGELES (CNS) — Following the shooting at a Texas elementary school that killed 19 students and two teachers, the Los Angeles Unified School District is planning updated safety protocols aimed at improving the safety of students and staff on campus .

Superintendent Alberto Carvalho announced Wednesday that the district would conduct an “access assessment” to reduce access points to campuses. It will also explore the designations of “safe corners” so students and staff know the most protected areas on campus in the event of a shooting or other emergency.

District officials will also explore the use of GPS-enabled mobile apps to help first responders access emergency incidents more effectively. The district will also look at improved mental health services, including considering reducing the counselor-to-student ratio.

“Since Columbine, Sandy Hook, Parkland, and now in Uvalde, Texas, we’ve seen how easy access to guns for anyone, including students, without any filter means that any place in America can become a dangerous place, no matter what whether it’s a movie theater, grocery store, temple, church or school,” Carvalho said in a statement. “Thanks to the Board of Education, Los Angeles Unified has implemented numerous safety measures in our school communities. As part of the ongoing review of our However, practices and procedures, we must continue to evaluate and update safety protocols to keep our students, staff and families as safe as possible.”

The district also said it is expanding collaboration with law enforcement and other first responders to share information, beginning with maps from LAUSD schools. During a shooting or other critical incident, Los Angeles School of Police Chief Leslie Ramirez will work with staff from other agencies to ensure a rapid exchange of information to reduce response time, Carvalho said.

The Los Angeles Board of Education voted in February 2021 to replace school police officers on campus with staff trained in de-escalation strategies and conflict resolution. School police officers remain on call to respond to campus emergencies and incidents.

The change, which involved cutting 133 school police positions, reduced the police budget from $77.5 million to $52.5 million. The move comes amid a national push to reduce police spending following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

While the police budget was being cut, the board also approved a $36.5 million Black Student Achievement Plan. A poll was presented to the board prior to the votes in which only 35% of black students said they felt police made them safer on campus, compared to 51% of all LAUSD students. Poll responses included stories from black students about stereotyping and incarceration.

Board members also banned the LA School Police Department from using oleoresin pepper spray, also known as pepper spray, on students.

Copyright © 2022 City News Service, Inc. All rights reserved. LAUSD announces updated safety plans following fatal shooting at Uvalde, Texas elementary school

Laura Coffey

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