Following the tragic massacre at a high school in Parkland, Florida, on Wednesday, the superintendent of the Los Alamitos Unified School District has issued a letter to parents to reassure the parents of students that local schools are safe.
“I am nearly at a loss for words regarding the sorrow we all feel about the school shooting in Florida. The tragic loss of so many lives is beyond heartbreaking. Schools should be a safe haven for all of our students, families, and staffs,” said Dr. Sherry Kropp.
Moreover, she said “adding security measures each and every year is an urgent and important goal for all of us.”
Kropp urged parents to help by following school safety measures, including wearing a name badge while on campus, checking into the main office, and reporting anything out of the ordinary.
“Our staffs receive training on active shooter protocols, and we are in contact with local law enforcement regularly. We have a School Resource Officer, Officer Kim, located on the Los Alamitos High School campus. We also have a Director of Safety, Chris Vlasic, who leads our efforts in this area,” said Dr. Kropp in the statement.
Moreover, the superintendent said the system had added security fencing “which is nearly complete at all of our elementary schools.” Further, she said the system is in the process of hiring campus supervisors for our elementary schools as well.
“We will begin working on middle school security fencing next. As stated above, we need to continually add safety measures at all of our schools. We need to help our students, families, and staffs be and feel safe while they are at our schools,” she added.
Kropp also issued a statement on behalf of the Board of Education:
“The Board of Education continues to prioritize student, staff and campus safety by taking a comprehensive approach to mitigate all safety-related risks. The District works closely with its three law enforcement agencies Seal Beach Police Department, Orange County Sheriffs, and Los Alamitos Police Department in the areas of patrol, presence and response. In addition, the District has consulted with the Orange County Intelligence Assessment Center (OCIAC) to conduct school safety assessments to identify ways in which to bolster school safety. Through those assessments, measures have been taken like added security fencing, shatter-proof Mylar window film on classroom/office windows, a visitor management system at all nine sites, staff name identification badges, the locking of classroom doors during instruction, surveillance cameras at LAHS, increased campus supervision, and the development of a violent intruder protocol.
The Board has prioritized the administrative position of Director of Safety. This position oversees all nine school sites in the areas of campus safety, emergency preparedness, threat assessment, bullying prevention, substance abuse prevention, violence prevention and crisis response. The Director of Safety has addressed each school site, the District Office and the Auxiliary Office regarding the District’s Violent Intruder Protocol should a campus need to go into Lockdown. The Director of Safety also leads a District Safety Task Force that is made up of multiple stakeholders across each school site that serve as liaisons for their school community. The task force also makes recommendations for safety related measures for the District to consider. In addition, the District has prioritized a School Resource Officer (SRO) Program whereby a Los Alamitos Police Officer is stationed at Los Alamitos High School to support all school sites.
The District has also prioritized supporting students through increasing its mental health counseling support at all nine school sites. Students and families have the ability to meet with licensed clinicians to address mental health needs on an as needed or regular basis.
The District has a confidential reporting system, TEXT-A-TIP (562)-344-5498. Please report any behavior, activity, and social media posts/electronic communication that threatens campus or student/staff safety. Please notify your local law enforcement agency or 9-1-1 if the threat is imminent or you have an urgent need.
Safety remains our top priority. If you have any suggestions or concerns, please contact our Director of Safety, Chris Vlasic, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for your support!”