Tuesday, December 18, 2012


-- Howard Blume, LA TIMES/LA Now | http://lat.ms/UGdDPI

December 17, 2012 |  4:01 pm  ::  Los Angeles' top school official Monday pledged a strong response after the Connecticut shooting that claimed the lives of 20 children and seven adults, plus the 20-year-old shooter.

Supt. John Deasy said that every individual school safety plan would be reviewed, a process that has already been launched. L.A. Unified has more than 1,000 schools.

The Ed Code :California Education Code Section 32282


a) The comprehensive school safety plan shall include, but not be limited to, both of the following:

(1) Assessing the current status of school crime committed on school campuses and at school-related functions.

(2) Identifying appropriate strategies and programs that will provide or maintain a high level of school safety and address the school's procedures for complying with existing laws related to school safety, which shall include the development of all of the following:

(A) Child abuse reporting procedures consistent with Article 2.5 (commencing with Section 11164) of Chapter 2 of Title 1 of Part 4 of the Penal Code.

(B) Disaster procedures, routine and emergency, including adaptations for pupils with disabilities in accordance with the federal Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (42 U.S.C. Sec. 12101 et seq.). The disaster procedures shall also include, but not be limited to, both of the following:

(i) Establishing an earthquake emergency procedure system in every public school building having an occupant capacity of 50 or more pupils or more than one classroom. A district or county office may work with the California Emergency Management Agency and the Seismic Safety Commission to develop and establish the earthquake emergency procedure system. The system shall include, but not be limited to,

all of the following:

(I) A school building disaster plan, ready for implementation at any time, for maintaining the safety and care of pupils and staff.

(II) A drop procedure whereby each pupil and staff member takes cover under a table or desk, dropping to his or her knees, with the head protected by the arms, and the back to the windows. A drop procedure practice shall be held at least once each school quarter in elementary schools and at least once a semester in secondary schools.

(III) Protective measures to be taken before, during, and following an earthquake.

(IV) A program to ensure that pupils and both the certificated and classified staff are aware of, and properly trained in, the earthquake emergency procedure system.

(ii) Establishing a procedure to allow a public agency, including the American Red Cross, to use school buildings, grounds, and equipment for mass care and welfare shelters during disasters or other emergencies affecting the public health and welfare. The district or county office shall cooperate with the public agency in furnishing and maintaining the services as the district or county office may deem necessary to meet the needs of the community.

(C) Policies pursuant to subdivision (d) of Section 48915 for pupils who committed an act listed in subdivision (c) of Section 48915 and other school-designated serious acts which would lead to suspension, expulsion, or mandatory expulsion recommendations pursuant to Article 1 (commencing with Section 48900) of Chapter 6 of Part 27 of Division 4 of Title 2.

(D) Procedures to notify teachers of dangerous pupils pursuant to Section 49079.

(E) A discrimination and harassment policy consistent with the prohibition against discrimination contained in Chapter 2 (commencing with Section 200) of Part 1.

(F) The provisions of any schoolwide dress code, pursuant to Section 35183, that prohibits pupils from wearing "gang-related apparel," if the school has adopted that type of a dress code. For those purposes, the comprehensive school safety plan shall define "gang-related apparel." The definition shall be limited to apparel that, if worn or displayed on a school campus, reasonably could be determined to threaten the health and safety of the school environment. Any schoolwide dress code established pursuant to this section and Section 35183 shall be enforced on the school campus and at any school-sponsored activity by the principal of the school or the person designated by the principal. For purposes of this paragraph, "gang-related apparel" shall not be considered a protected form of speech pursuant to Section 48950.

(G) Procedures for safe ingress and egress of pupils, parents, and school employees to and from school.

(H) A safe and orderly environment conducive to learning at the school.

(I) The rules and procedures on school discipline adopted pursuant to Sections 35291 and 35291.5.

(b) It is the intent of the Legislature that schools develop comprehensive school safety plans using existing resources, including the materials and services of the partnership, pursuant to this chapter. It is also the intent of the Legislature that schools use the handbook developed and distributed by the School/Law Enforcement Partnership Program entitled "Safe Schools: A Planning Guide for Action"* in conjunction with developing their plan for school safety. (c) Grants to assist schools in implementing their comprehensive school safety plan shall be made available through the partnership as authorized by Section 32285.

* apparently out of print and not available online.

(d) Each schoolsite council or school safety planning committee in developing and updating a comprehensive school safety plan shall, where practical, consult, cooperate, and coordinate with other schoolsite councils or school safety planning committees.

(e) The comprehensive school safety plan may be evaluated and amended, as needed, by the school safety planning committee, but shall be evaluated at least once a year, to ensure that the comprehensive school safety plan is properly implemented. An updated file of all safety-related plans and materials shall be readily available for inspection by the public.

(f) As comprehensive school safety plans are reviewed and updated, the Legislature encourages all plans, to the extent that resources are available, to include policies and procedures aimed at the prevention of bullying.

(g) The comprehensive school safety plan, as written and updated by the schoolsite council or school safety planning committee, shall be submitted for approval under subdivision (a) of Section 32288

Deasy estimated that, so far, it appeared that fewer than 10 campuses lack a secure perimeter. Still, he said, additional measures would be undertaken to make campuses more secure.

Three school police officers from the Los Angeles Unified School District are part of a contingent that has gone to Connecticut to offer help and to learn from the tragedy, Deasy said.


The superintendent applauded a Los Angeles Police Department plan to send an officer for a random visit to every elementary and middle school once a day. High schools already have a full-time armed officer employed by the school system.

The schools chief called LAPD “the best city police department I have ever worked with as superintendent” and said he appreciated the “amazing and overwhelming deployment.”

For L.A. Unified to implement the high school level of coverage at every school could more than triple district security costs, Deasy said. Currently, the school police department has an annual budget of $52 million.

At a news conference, Deasy and L.A. Police Chief Charlie Beck were challenged on whether a random daily visit could have prevented an incident similar to the killings at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Beck acknowledged that the Connecticut school had strong security measures in place, “but they didn’t have a Los Angeles police there or this wouldn’t have occurred.” Effective law enforcement, Beck added, is about being “in the right place at the right time … and this gives us an opportunity.”

Deasy acknowledged that one goal was simply to build public confidence in the safety of schools. “It is an absolute effort to reassure the public,” Deasy said.

But how likely is it that an intruder would be confronted by a police officer during a random, once-a-day stop?

“It’s a heck of a lot better than if an LAPD officer is not assigned to the school,” Deasy replied.

School district officials said other police departments were pledging similar measures for L.A. Unified campuses within their jurisdictions.The nation's second-largest school system serves all or part of more than two dozen cities in L.A. County.

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