Addressing School Safety: A Multifaceted Challenge
School Safety – The Los Angeles city attorney responds to a front-page article about security efforts.
To the Editor:
“Students Return to Armed Guards and Lockdowns” (front page, Aug. 12) only briefly mentions non-“hardening” measures that can help to keep schoolchildren safe. In fact, school districts must go beyond hardening measures.
I recently released the report of our Blue Ribbon Panel on School Safety in Los Angeles, which reflects the panel’s consensus that school safety needs to be addressed comprehensively. We must tackle access to guns and access to mental health resources; how schools are designed and how threats are reported; conditions on campus and in surrounding neighborhoods.
A number of our recommendations would yield benefits that transcend safety, promoting student well-being and social and emotional growth — and, consequently, better academic performance.
Introducing more firearms on campus is a facile response that can escalate risk. Other security procedures designed to fortify campuses can contribute to school safety, but can also detract from the school climate and erode trust between students and adults. That trust is crucial to nearly everything that takes place at school, including protecting our kids: In Los Angeles, most weapons discovered on campus are confiscated as a result of student reports, not metal detector searches.