If this does get implemented I do not want to hear about budget issues regarding body cameras. Getting a single point of entry at a high school? Are you going to be watching the far fence as someone hops over it? If it is known the school officer is near the entrance than the logical place to sneak in is…..just about everywhere else. Also, if someone starts shooting wouldnt that one entrance/exit be the best place?
I have been on many campuses as an student and educator. I would not like a place that had one exit/entrance.
Is there really a need for an officer to be on campus? It could not be part of a patrol? Is this really the best allocation of money. Go to body cameras where it will help the day to day issues police/citizens deal with. Save thousands in proving excessive force allegations wrong or San Diego DUI cases that were conducted incrrectly. To staff police, all of whom have pensions, benefits, and the lot seem like a bad allocation of funds.
It will be interesting to see what develops.
San Diego Unified will assign a uniformed police officer to La Jolla High School.
That’s just one of the security measures in store for the district following a two-year audit of school safety.
And while most high schools in the district already have a full-time officer, the decision to station one at the elite seaside campus is emblematic of the changing face of public schools in the wake of mass shootings and other security threats.
The San Diego school board ordered a comprehensive security assessment of its campuses in the days following the shooting rampage at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newton, Conn., that left 20 first-graders and six staff members dead at the hands of a gunman on Dec. 14, 2012.
The district spent $1.7 million on a private audit of campus security by AECOM, an international firm with offices in San Diego. The FBI and other law enforcement agencies helped consultants compile a list of potential security weak spots at every school. The audit found that 78 percent of the district’s safety procedures and policies were either poorly enforced or outdated.
How safe are San Diego schools?
Fences spark discussion on school safety
The school board held a public workshop on the findings Tuesday but stopped short of releasing the report, which calls for $200 million in security measures recommended by the consultants.
The board unanimously approved Superintendent Cindy Marten’s recommendations on the matter, which include a review of the report’s specific findings by an implementation team that would consult with schools and communities. The district is also updating its safety procedures.
Most of the projects could be covered with the proceeds of recent bond measures and state modernization funds. Even so, San Diego Unified does not expect to implement all of the suggestions laid out in the report.
Marten’s call for a police officer at every comprehensive high school means that La Jolla and Madison high schools will be assigned officers. Every other traditional high school has an officer, who also coordinates security for nearby elementary and middle schools.
The San Diego Unified police department will assign one of its 42 officers to Madison. A new officer would be hired for La Jolla, although the district has not yet figured the position – and its $93,000 annual salary (excluding benefits) – into its budget.
In the two years since the audit was ordered, San Diego Unified has completed security upgrades it deemed most pressing – erecting tall fences to secure a single point of entry at schools, upgrading classroom door locks, installing surveillance cameras and public address systems – often at the request of principals.
John Lee Evans, vice president of the school board, said the 20-foot chain-link fences that now encase once-inviting schools, are at times off-putting and could offer a false sense of security.
“Communities want schools to be open and welcoming places and then we barricade them up,” said Evans, a psychologist. “There has got to be a way we don’t end up with these prisonlike fortresses that, by the way, are not foolproof.”
Evans stressed that many school shootings are the result of mental illness, He said the district’s “restorative justice” initiative and other efforts to strengthen relationships among students, law enforcement and educators might do more to make schools safer than fences and gates.
Marten said the district is working to strike a balance between the need to make schools both secure and inviting.
“It’s about how we manage that tension,” she said.
All told, more than 270 mid-sized security projects (costing up to $50,000 each) at about 70 schools have been inventoried. Of the projects, at least 50 have been completed. In addition to that, the district’s plant operations staff completed 4,446 work orders (at a cost of about $2.4 million) related to security – such as repairing gates, lights and security cameras.
THE FULL ARTICLE CAN BE FOUND HERE.
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