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Increased security remains as LAUSD students return to school

January 7, 2013 12:00:00 AM PST
Safety was key Monday as LAUSD students returned to class for the first time following the Connecticut school shooting.

Beefed up law enforcement presence is among a series of new security measures LAUSD school officials implemented Monday.

The district has partnered with the Los Angeles police department and county sheriff's department to patrol elementary schools and middle schools. That's in addition to the existing 300 police and resource officers already stationed at LAUSD high schools.

According to officials, officers will routinely walk into elementary schools and middle schools unannounced at least once a day to check in on students and staff. Private schools can also request visits.

LAPD Chief Charlie Beck says this isn't a cure-all but it will help keep schools safer.

"We want to make sure that when parents get their kids into school today they feel good about their schools and they feel good about the safety of their children," Chief Beck said.

The increased security is in response to the tragic events that occurred in Newtown, Conn., where 20 students and six adults were murdered at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

With memories of the school tragedy lingering in the back of their minds, parents felt much safer as uniformed police officers greeted them as they dropped their children off.

"It really does make me feel better about that because I did have some apprehensions," said parent Victoria Brown. "With the school shooting in Connecticut, it was really sad, so it makes me feel better, more comfortable."

LAUSD Superintendent John Deasy says LAUSD and LAPD went through every school in the district's security plan over the break. He ensures the plans are all up to date and in place and hopes the extra security measures will help ease parent's concerns.

"Officers will not announce the time that they're going to be there," Deasy said. "They'll be there on a regular basis. On a daily basis, they'll come in and meet with the principal. They'll also be patrolling the school area. This is a very large deployment as Chief Beck indicated. We want parents to realize that we, their entire community is around them for safety and support so student's concerns are really about algebra and math and reading and writing."

In addition to the extra patrols, LAUSD will also be offering grief counselors to educators, students and parents trying to deal with the tragedy that took place last month.