Keeping kids safe in LA schools

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In the wake of the school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, Los Angeles County Unified School District Superintendent John Deasy and Senator Ted Lieu addressed the issue of safety as it pertains to the nearly 700,000 students in the district. On Monday, Sen. Lieu spoke with KCRW  about a proposed bill that he claims will shore up necessary safety regulations in under performing schools across Los Angeles.

Sen. Lieu’s bill will impose a penalty on schools that do not adequately prepare disaster plan and inform the district in writing. Crucial funding will be withheld from schools that do not meet safety regulations. The penalty, Sen. Lieu argues, will help protect students and ensure their safety. In addition, the proposed bill cites the lack of accountability behind safety regulations already in place: “There is currently no penalty [for schools without a plan],” said Sen. Lieu. Furthermore, charter schools, often omitted from district-wide legislation, will be forced to comply with the measure or be subject to the same penalties. A second aspect of the measure would oversee a public website listing the names of schools that do not have safety plans in place.

Police reporter Joel Rubin of the Los Angeles Times explained on Monday that LAPD Chief Charlie Beck plans to add new rounds police task forces in an effort to patrol schools across the county, effective immediately. “The plan is still taking shape,” Rubin reports, however, Chief Beck intends to work with and overlap the LAUSD police department’s patrols. In order to ensure safety, LAPD cars will be dispatched to the district’s 730 schools for spot checks. The logistics of the patrols are still being determined.