Panel: LAUSD Needs School Safety Director, Audit of Metal Detector Policy
The Los Angeles Unified School District safety panel also recommends increased mental health resources and proper firearms storage awareness.
A Los Angeles Unified School District safety panel proposed dozens of recommendations to improve school security, including the hiring of a school safety director.
The Blue Ribbon Panel on School Safety, established by Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer in partnership with LAUSD in the wake of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting, released a draft report this week, recommending the district establish a high-level position of school safety director to oversee the district’s safety initiatives, reports The Daily News.
“The district needs a single, accountable leader to oversee, coordinate and effectively integrate its many important school safety efforts,” the draft report stated.
Currently, various LAUSD departments, including the Los Angeles School Police, work individually to improve school safety but often “operate in silos—missing opportunities to develop common goals and strategies and lacking an integrated approach for implementing and comprehensively evaluating these goals and strategies.”
The panel’s draft report also recommends the district require all schools to have a single point of entry, a check-in procedure for visitors, and to install interior locks in all classrooms.
Furthermore, the report recommends:
- Increasing the number of Psychiatric Social Workers with the ultimate goal of maintaining a full-time PSW on staff at each school
- Reinstating peer counseling programs and requiring all schools to involve students in programming that promote positive relationship building and mentoring
- Collaborating with community partners to spread awareness on how to properly and safely store firearms and the creation of a state law to make failure to safely store a firearm a basis for prohibiting a person from owning a firearm
Perhaps one of the more controversial recommendations made in the report is the suspension of random handheld metal detector searches while the district completes a large-scale audit of the policy, “given the intense debate over this issue and lack of comprehensive evidence of this policy’s effectiveness.”
If approved, the audit would assess the policy’s effectiveness in recovering weapons compared to other methods; the policy’s deterrent effect as measured through anonymous surveys; the true randomness of the policy; and the policy’s effect on student trust.
Los Angeles School Police Chief Steven Zipperman said in a statement that the panel’s recommendations will “help guide the district” as it refines its policies and develops new strategies to protect its schools from violence.
The final report is expected to be issued on August 6.