Much has been written lately in our local papers about school safety. Please let me start by stating this clearly—your children are safe in our schools. We are prepared for many circumstances: fire, earthquake, and an active shooter.
The public discussion, even debate, regarding school safety is a good thing. This discourse will only enhance what we are already doing to create even safer learning communities. That’s what makes the Redondo Beach Unified School District (RBUSD) such an impressive school district—good is not good enough. We expect more. I have summarized some of the more significant school safety improvements below.
This summer, we will complete front entrance modifications at Parras Middle School. This safety enhancement will force school access through the main office and improve campus safety. We made this same modification at Adams Middle School last summer.
All of our school doors are in the process of having additional locking latches installed. Torrance Unified School District and Palos Verdes Unified School District currently use this latch and have found it quite effective in lock-down situations.
We are installing additional cameras and motion lights at Redondo Union High School (RUHS). All of our school sites have working security cameras; we just felt RUHS needed a few more, given the size of the campus.
Each school site has a “grab and go” safety plan. These plans are modified annually. School sites practice these safety plans monthly.
With the arrival of Redondo Beach Police Chief Keith Kauffman comes a modified approach to “active shooter” training. Our school sites are currently undergoing this newer approach, and ideally all of our school staff members will have received this training by the end of the school year.
We have installed over two miles of wrought iron fencing over the last eight years, mostly on the perimeters of our school campuses. Unlike chain-link fencing, wrought iron fencing is difficult to climb.
Perhaps our greatest strength to combat a worst-case scenario situation (including fire, earthquake, or active shooter) is having great students and great staff members. Our students and staff members are bright, care personally about one another, and are very proud of their schools. Plenty of research suggests that the more students and staff members are engaged in their learning community, the less likely it is that an unfortunate incident will occur from within the school community. Of course, this may not help in the case of an earthquake, but in the other crisis situations it certainly does.
Finally, if you, the reader, ever see or hear something that can compromise student or staff safety, please call 911 immediately or, if it is not urgent, the Redondo Beach
Police Department (RBPD) regular desk number, (310) 379-2477.
The RBUSD Board of Education, the administrators, the staff, and the RBPD are serious about student safety. We are absolutely united in this pursuit.