Saturday, August 30, 2008


by A.J. Duffy from United Teacher

Aug 15 -- If you’ve been to the Beaudry building lately, you may have noticed that LAUSD has installed a pricey, state-of-the-art security system for headquarters—a building that I don’t need to remind you houses people who work far away from students.image

I sent the letter at right to find out just how much of LAUSD’s scarce funds went  into the system. I suspect the cost runs into the hundreds of thousands of dollars, and much of it may be an ongoing expense. In this time of economic crisis, when every penny counts, is this the best use of taxpayer money? And what about our schools? The bureaucracy gets a top-of-the-line system, while too many of our schools struggle with safety issues and can’t even fill open security positions.

In addition to our concerns about cost, I’ve heard from many members that the security system itself is overkill. It involves multiple levels of security beyond what’s needed, and they tell me it’s stricter than federal court buildings just blocks away. The result is that it makes LAUSD headquarters an even more unwelcome place for the people it is supposed to serve: the teachers, parents, students, and community.

Duffy is the President of United Teachers Los Angeles.

●●smf's 2¢: Duffy is absolutely right on this. I have had conversations with board member's staff and they were surprised by the new level of security at Beaudry - prompted by what was presented as a routine security review and an incident earlier this year when a employee was supposedly threatened by the jealous (and murderous) husband of his girlfriend.  The husband was captured and our lothario is safe - now protected by guards, ID checks, locked doors in the stairwells, security badges, and card scanners at every doorway. Beaudry is a building already as visitor unfriendly as can be imagined; every entrance is on a slope, there is no posted readily accessible handicapped parking and visitor parking is a block away.

Parents and students are the building's most important visitors - they should be welcomed, not screened. And the School Police's mission is to protect students, not the board of education, the superintendent or alleged adulterers.


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