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ABC School Board Reviews Campus Safety Plans

Members of the ABC Unified School Board during  Tuesday's meeting in Cerritos.  Randy Economy Photo

Members of the ABC Unified School Board during Tuesday’s meeting in Cerritos. Randy Economy Photo

By Brian Hews

In light of the recent mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School and in the aftermath of the horrific killings at Columbine High School, the ABC Unified School District has instituted a new “School Safety Action Plan” that will be implanted at all 29 of its campuses.

At Tuesday’s ABC School Board Meeting, President Celia Spitzer and other members of the Board of Education received a comprehensive plan presented by Assistant Superintendent Toan Nguyen that details a “campus by campus specific plan” in case of a major emergency were to talk place.

“The safety of our students is the top priority of this Board of Education,” Spitzer said.  “Nothing else matters if we cannot provide a safe learning environment on our campuses,” Spitzer stressed.

Nguyen said that a team of district administrators visited each campus during the past few months.  “We needed to spend a great deal of time at each location in order to make sure that one solid plan can be implemented to ensure maximum safety for our children and faculty members.”

As part of the new effort the district will be installing privacy slats in the preschool/kindergarten areas, and install dead bolts on class room doors from the inside.

As part of the new effort the district will be installing “privacy slats” in all  preschool/kindergarten areas, and place new dead bolt locks on class room doors from the inside.

Nguyen also stated that the district will install an emergency “All Call” solution for every classroom in order to create a safer “communication plan” between classrooms and the school’s main administration building.

The District will also be conducting at least two to three “emergency lock down drills” during each school year, as well as holding outreach meetings and students, staff, and parents regularly regarding school safety.

ABC School District officials have also been working with members of law enforcement in order to create the final safety plan. Nguyen stressed that “we can’t complete a safety plan without having our local Sheriff officials on board.”

Campuses will also have new enhanced external lighting systems installed at each campus to ensure sufficient lighting, as well as installing new fences and gates in order to ensure a “closed campus.”  Nguyen pointed out that Carmenita Middle School on 166th Street in Cerritos is located next to open park space at Joe A. Gonsalves Park.  “We had to make sure that Carmenita was specifically addressed and that a safety fence is properly installed between the two properties,” Nguyen said.

Each campus will also have updated and installed security cameras installed at all “secondary schools and all placed in strategic areas.” District officials will also be repairing playground equipment on an “as needed basis.”

The plan also calls for a “buzzer system” to be installed at each campuses main door that leads from the Main Office.

Finally, the plan calls for Whitney High School and Cerritos High School to have new “receptionist counters” installed inside their main office building.

“If you are going to be on one of our campuses, we are going to make sure that everyone follows the same rules and procedures, including school administrators, students and parents alike,” said Superintendent Mary Sieu.

“We need to learn from what has been going on around the country, and we want our school safety plans to be transparent,” Sieu stressed in her comments.

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  • Who? What? says:

    Did they talk about yesterday’s “incident” at Cerritos High? And the multiple sheriff cars sitting in the school’s parking lots this morning?