In direct response to the May 24 school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) announced increased safety protocols for its schools.
Among the new safety measures will be reduced school entry points, expanded communication with first responders and enhanced mental health access for students.
“Since Columbine, Sandy Hook, Parkland, and now in Uvalde, Texas, we have witnessed that ready access to guns for anyone, including students, without any filter, means that any place in America can become a dangerous place, whether it’s a movie theater, a grocery store, a temple, a church or a school,” Superintendent Alberto M. Carvalho said in a statement, Wednesday. “…As part of the ongoing review of our practices and procedures, we must continue to assess and update safety protocols in order to keep our students, employees and families as safe as possible.”
LAUSD said it would explore GPS-enabled applications that would communicate “critical incidents” to first responders. The district will also be providing first responders with campus maps for them to better assess the school areas during a crisis.
As far as the mental health changes, LAUSD said its goal is to concentrate on “prevention and early identification,” as well as adding sensitivity training for staff.
Further details for implementation of the safety changes were not announced, but Carvalho indicated the district would work with the Public Policy Institute of California for responding to mental health crises.
“We must declare that detecting troubling signs and providing mental health services must involve the collective resources, awareness and compassion of our entire community,” Carvalho said on Thursday.
The school shooting in Uvalde, Texas killed 19 students and two teachers after an 18-year-old gunman entered Robb Elementary school and shot an estimated 25 times, according to local officials.
While the incident is under investigation, accounts have been conflicting, with law enforcement initially believed to have been confronted by the gunman before entering the school, but Texas Department of Public Safety later saying the suspect, Salvador Ramos, entered without resistance.
Local officials also said Ramos allegedly posted private messages to Facebook indicating that he was going to engage in a school shooting.
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