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School Board Trustee Calls For Review Of District Safety Plans

A San Diego Unified School District Board of Education member will ask his colleagues after the new year to call for a district-wide review of safety plans in light of the shooting at a Connecticut elementary school.

San Diego Unified school board trustee Scott Barnett.

Above: San Diego Unified school board trustee Scott Barnett.

The proposal by Trustee Scott Barnett would direct staff to review safety plans at each campus to determine what steps could be taken to increase student and staff safety and security, and report on potential costs of improvements. The board will take up his idea at the first meeting of the new year.

The report should take into account threats to students, teachers and staff at district facilities, and dangers posed by potential natural disasters, such as earthquakes, fires, floods or tsunamis, according to Barnett.

Twenty children and six adults were killed in the Dec. 14 shooting in Newtown, Conn. Gunman Adam Lanza, 20, died of a self-inflicted gunshot at Sandy Hook Elementary School, and the body of his mother was later found in her home.

"This tragedy should spur us to take a detailed look at potential scenarios where students, staff, and visitors could be threatened, and ensure we have considered all safety and security options,'' Barnett wrote in his proposal.

He said no one wants schools to become "armed fortresses,'' but the district needs to make sure it is "fully and properly prepared'' for potential dangers.

At a recent news conference, Board of Education President John Lee Evans said student safety has been a top priority for the panel.

"A lot of people don't realize we have cameras at the schools, that we have phones in all the classrooms, that we have procedures for people coming in and out of the schools to make sure the parents know that our kids really will be safe in our public schools,'' Evans said.

The SDUSD has its own police department and works closely with the San Diego Police Department. The agencies are preparing to deploy technology that will stream video from campus cameras directly into police vehicles.

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