LA County looks to expand School Threat Assessment Response Team

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In the 13 days after the deadly school shooting in Florida, threats have been made locally including schools in Whittier, Long Beach, Inglewood and Castaic. (KABC)

In the 13 days after the deadly school shooting in Florida, threats have been made locally including at schools in Whittier, Long Beach, Inglewood and Castaic. The reality of a copycat scenario has the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors taking action.

They voted unanimously to look at ways to enhance and expand START, the School Threat Assessment Response Team.

Supervisor Janice Hahn told the board, "They normally see about 15 students a week, but in the last week alone, START members received 63 calls of potential threats."

There are just 10 START members, who work with law enforcement and students identified as at-risk, to prevent school violence. Since the program started in 2009, it has fielded 8,000 calls.

Los Angeles County's Director of Mental Health, Dr. Jonathan Sherin, sees a need for START beyond school campuses. "Our communities need to know that there's someone that they can go to, that they're going to get a response in real time," said Sherin.

The cost of growing the program and how resources would be allocated will be hashed out in the weeks to come. The board will revisit the issue in 30 days.

"I'm confident the board will find the money because to me, that's about as important as it comes as it relates to what we do in this county," Supervisor Kathryn Barger said.

Hahn hopes gun control laws can be implemented at the federal level, but says when she was in Congress, efforts failed after Sandy Hook and other school shootings. "Until that happens, we in L.A. County need to do what we can do to protect all the kids going to school in Los Angeles County," said Hahn.
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school safetyschool threatLos Angeles County
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