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L.A. Teachers Being Trained In 'Active Shooter' Scenarios

Students rush to safety after shots were fired near Santa Monica College on June 7, 2013 in Santa Monica, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
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As K-12 students prepare to return to schools on Tuesday, local faculty are doing their own preparation, which, in light of horrific school shootings like the one in Newtown, includes training for "active shooter" scenarios.

Principals and teachers in the Los Angeles Unified School District are being trained on how to react to a shooting on campus, LA Daily News reports.

Steve Zipperman, a retired Los Angeles Police Department captain who is now chief of the district's police force, said principals participated this summer in "live-shooter training" that will be shared with teachers this year.

Instead of the traditional lockdown, new guidelines released by the U.S. Department of Education call for a "flight, hide or fight" plan against any "live shooter" threat, with "fight" being a last resort.

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Zipperman told the Daily News that school leaders are being guided on "how to decide in the moment how to save as many lives as possible.... We provided them with alternatives and choices that may be available to them should an active shooting occur, and a traditional lockdown may not be the most appropriate decision." He added, "This may mean the rapid relocation of students, either on or off-campus."

Judith Perez, president of Associated Administrators of Los Angeles, said the district is deciding whether to install door locks that can be secured from inside the classroom.

"It's awful and horrific that we even have to think about this," Perez said. "None of us went into education with an active shooter on our radar. But all of us are facing the reality of what could happen, and we have a shared responsibility to keep our children safe."

Other new security measures may include more cameras, increased safety patrols, and fewer open gates at schools, said Superintendent John Deasy.

As students go back to school, they're also see some other changes, including the free iPad program, as well as "Common Core," new English and math standards designed to be more academically rigorous while developing students' technological skills, the Daily News reports.

"LAUSD has been leading in terms of implementing Common Core," Deasy said. "We've had thousands of teachers and administrators trained over the last six months, trained by our own teachers. This is about finding our best and brightest inside the system and helping them lead the way in terms of professional development.

"I think you'll see more and more of that over the course of the year as we implement Common Core and the iPad initiative. We've been training principals and teachers to lead that effort, as well."

Additional changes include 15 new on-campus health clinics, which will debut this week in "high-priority areas." Services offered will include primary health care, mental health and
behavioral and dental services. The district also plans to assist families in enrolling their children in health insurance plans, City News Service reports.

The district has also asked parents to follow six rules this year:

  • learn school rules for students and parents
  • learn the emergency plans for each campus
  • update children's emergency contact cards at their school
  • know each child's exact schedule at school
  • obey traffic rules and traffic monitors at schools
  • make sure all students entering 7th grade have had "T-dap'" booster shots for whooping cough

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