District Principals to Discuss Security at Special Meeting; Harbor View Implementing Improvements

posted: January 17th, 2013 04:49 am | 0No Comments

All Newport-Mesa Unified School District principals and directors will meet today to discuss current security protocols, a district spokeswoman confirmed.

“We have the opportunity to hear from a specialist in the area of threat assessment which is part of the preplanning with our staff,” Laura Boss said in an email. “There is not an official agenda and unfortunately it is not a public meeting as we want to be able to get into some specific questions and answers.”

The meeting will include a presentation by Manny Tau, a clinical and forensic
psychologist and threat management specialist, Boss said. Tau will teach staff “the importance of threat assessment (rapid-scan approach), response (active shooter
survival strategies), as well as recognition (threatening behaviors) of
potential threats to assist NMUSD in assessing and updating District-wide and site-based lockdown and active shooter plans and procedures,” Boss said.

Tau also will discuss the convergence of three targeted violence arenas, including workplace, domestic and school-place violence, she said, and how violence can be prevented from coming into work areas. Tau also will discuss the “Run, Hide, Fight” survival strategy for responding to an active shooter, her email said.

Harbor View Elementary School Principal Todd Schmidt announced that he would be attending the meeting during a school Parent Faculty Organization meeting.

Schmidt said Harbor View has increased security following December’s school shootings in Connecticut.

“We did another Secure Our School drill” on Friday, he told the group at the Wednesday morning PFO meeting. “We did find there was a door that was not locking propery, so we put in an order to fix that.”

Schmidt said SOS drills will be held at least once a month and probably more frequently, including drills that occur at different times of the day so students can learn what to do when they are at recess or in the library and not just in their classrooms.

“The kids need to know where do you go, what do you do,” he said. “We’re going to be running through until the kids feel very comfortable.”

The drills are announced over a school loudspeaker, and students then hide in prearranged places within their classrooms.

The week of the Connecticut shooting, the Harbor View PFO had approved funding for a locked gate to be added to protect the kindergarten area; read our earlier story here. That work is expected to be complete in the next two weeks, Schmidt said. The school also began locking all other doors at 8:20 a.m., and Newport Beach police have implemented regular patrol checks at Harbor View and other schools; read our earlier stories here and here.

Schmidt also said that district maintenance workers were planning to visit Harbor View for a walk-through to check on other security issues.

Boss confirmed that Maintenance and Operations staff is currently visiting every district campus, making recommendations for possible changes to the physical

“As a district we continue to place a high emphasis on ensuring our campuses are secure and our personnel are trained to the best of our abilities,” she said. “We are working closely with both Newport Beach and Costa Mesa police departments on our campus safety and security assessments and plans, and this will ongoing joint efforts.”

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