By Mary O’KEEFE
On Tuesday, the Glendale Unified School District presented information on campus safety measures taken at school campuses.
The district has put several campus safety measures in place over the years and continues to add more safety procedures, said Hagop Eulmessekian, director of Student Support Services.
One improvement is an update of all school maps shared with law enforcement. District administrators have walked through the schools with law enforcement, including members of Los Angeles Sheriff’s Dept.
Glendale police are responsible for schools within the city of Glendale; LASD is responsible for schools within GUSD that are located within the unincorporated area of LA County/La Crescenta Montrose.
Sgt. Joseph Funches from LASD – Crescenta Valley Station was at Tuesday’s meeting. He spoke of having LASD deputies walking through school sites to become more familiar with the layout of the campuses, including the entrances and exits, as well as meeting school administrators and staff. The deputies work with School Resource Officer (SRO) Dep. Scott Shinagawa.
“I just learned about the emergency management system Raptor,” Funches said. “That helps a lot.”
GUSD has in place the Raptor Emergency Management System to help with communications. The district piloted the system at two sites and will now have the system at all sites. According to the Raptor website the system helps simplify drill scheduling, drill management and compliance tracking. It will instantly alert staff and emergency responders of an incident and share real-time status information and location of students and staff members.
In addition, Eulmessekian said there were about 1,200 cameras on campuses and lock blocks on all doors. Lock blocks are designed to allow access whether or not the door handle is locked. If there is a situation, like an active shooter on campus, a student or teacher can slide the lock block and to gain access to a handle-locked room then secure the door once inside.
All middle and high schools have security guards in addition to each high school having one SRO. GUSD Board President Nayiri Nahabedian said she would like to reach out to the City of Glendale to see if they can get more SROs at the schools. In the past, there was one SRO at Rosemont Middle School and one at Crescenta Valley High School. Due to budget cuts, they were reduced to one SRO to cover both the middle school and high school.
Although recent focus has been on gun violence at schools, school safety also includes emergencies like earthquake and fire response. There are emergency bins at all schools that are checked annually and the district has increased its number of staff members with walkie-talkies to help with communications.
Eulmessekian said the district’s program of “see something, say something” has worked well and that the district “investigates every single one of those” incidents reported; however, a GUSD employee who works in facility maintenance had a different viewpoint.
“I did see something and said something to management and I received retaliation,” he said.
He explained that he had spoken to “everyone,” from management to human resources and, according to him, had faced retaliation for speaking out about his concerns. He was referred to Superintendent Vivian Ekchian.