ESUSD has the following safety program and procedures in place:
- The District has policies in place requiring school and building safety plans, as well as a district wide safety plan. The plan serves as a guide to address the various safety needs, such as lockdown procedures, evacuations, drills and safety protocols and assignments.
- The District conducts a regular audit to evaluate and analyze the effectiveness of the plans and First Responders, local law enforcement and a school safety committee is engaged in the process.
- Our Schools communicate with parents about school-level emergency preparedness and the District works closely with the City of El Segundo and other agencies as a team.
- The District creates partnerships with local law enforcement and agencies to prevent school violence.
Here are specific actions to address and accomplish the ESUSD safety program:
Meeting and Follow Up with El Segundo Police Department
On February 15, 2018, Chief of Police Bill Whalen, Officer Scott Black, Dr. Jennifer Tedford, Dr. Melissa Gooden and I met to discuss a lengthy agenda focused upon safety. Topics included the school shooting, vaping, canine searches, and communication between the district and police department. The District requested referral(s) to conduct a comprehensive threat assessment and violent intruder training for each of our school sites. Chief Whalen followed up with an agency that has been highly effective providing this service in numerous schools. I reached out to this agency today to make arrangements to access their services.
Annual Safe School Plans
All of our schools and the school district office comply with California Education Code requirements regarding the development, revision, and updating of comprehensive school safety plans using a collaborative process. School Safety Plans are approved annually by the Board of Education. School committees include a variety of stakeholders. Principals also consult with law enforcement to ensure the safety plans are effective and current. Plans include policies and practices active aggressor/shooter protocols, lockdown and shelter-in-place procedures, as well as regular drills and exercises for all staff. Each school site has this safety and emergency information posted on their web pages.
City Of El Segundo Disaster Preparedness Committee and Risk Management
Dr. Dylan Farris and I are members of the City of El Segundo Disaster Preparedness Committee. This committee meets quarterly and discusses response to potential crisis and preparation steps for a disaster. The El Segundo Fire Department trained representatives from various ESUSD school sites and district in the School Emergency Response Training (SERT).
Dr. Farris is responsible for risk management within the school district. He conducts quarterly meetings with site representatives in the area of safety. The last meeting was held on Thursday, February 15, 2018.
Organization Update to Employees
It is essential that we do not make assumptions about what employees may or may not know in reference to what safety measures are currently in place. Consequently, an organizational safety update was distributed district-wide to employees on February 20, 2018.
Resources for Administrators and Safety Committees
Resource documents have been distributed to our administrative team to support them with school safety. We continue to be vigilant in formulating plans that best address the needs of our school district and students. For example, our goal in responding to potential walk-out plans and other forms of peaceful assembly is to try and focus on teaching and learning while providing guidance and planning to support student safety. Each school will formulate a plan that is appropriate for the age of the students and provide options for those who express interest in participating and those who do not.
School Safety Plans address lockdown drills as a protocol. A lockdown drill is the preventative measure to implement in the event of an active shooter on campus. Essentially, the best practice is to follow the “Run, Hide, or Fight” strategy. In the Parkland shooting, teachers were heroic and played a critical role in saving students’ lives by following the protocol of run, hide, and fight. I would like to clarify that our “lockdown” drills are training for an active shooter. It is essential that when an event occurs all students and employees follow the instructions of the police officers. We look to expand our efforts to include violent intruder response training that covers a broader range of topics.
Mental Health Support
We are fortunate to have an outstanding team of school counselors and psychologists to provide students support in a variety of essential areas at the middle and high school level. In addition, the school district has added mental health support offering district-wide counseling through South Bay Children’s Health Center. We also have contracted with STAR Era Education to provide school based services, including Educationally Related Intensive Counseling Services (ERICS). School-based ERICS supports students with disabilities to address mental health needs to support students' individual success within the school setting.
ESUSD also added the following confidential and anonymous resource to assist our parents in finding substance abuse or mental health assistance for their child. https://addictionpros.org/elsegundoparents. This resource is available through a contract with Addiction Treatment Technologies to provide vetted resources to guide families through the often difficult process of finding the right health care practitioner or facility.
Long-Range Facility Master Plan
It is important to note that a key area addressed in the Facility Master Plan (LRFMP) was for all schools to receive a new safe and welcoming front entry with security portal and new site perimeter fencing that is attractive and contiguous, which takes advantage of existing buildings. Close to $4 million of the existing plan references these recommended changes. Fencing is also a deterrent for students with special needs who display eloping behaviors.
Due to a recent tracking poll, it was determined that it would be best to defer a potential school bond until the November 2018 election. Our efforts will continue to be a priority moving forward. It is our intent to review our LRFMP the next three months and propose changes/revisions/modifications. We plan to also strongly consider whether additional safety features should be added to the LRFMP, such as door locking mechanisms, expansion of video surveillance, or other technologies to enhance safety and security.
See Something Say Something
In closing, I would once again want to emphasize the theme of See Something, Say Something and report any concerns in a timely fashion. It is critical that individuals in distress or crisis receive appropriate support, intervention, and monitoring. Often such concerns arise in social media. We strongly encourage parents to have serious conversations with their children about reporting questionable content and refrain from posting inappropriate comments or threats. Any such post is referred immediately to law enforcement for a full investigation and threat assessment.
We encourage everyone to express their thoughts or concerns with their site principals. If we all collectively take an active role to enhance the culture of safety at our schools, which will ensure ESUSD continues to be one of the safest places to live and learn.
Melissa Moore, Ed.D.
SuperintendentEl Segundo Unified School District