School safety check
by Denise Ellen Rizzo
Dec 21, 2012 | 6079 views | 28 28 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print
School safety
School security officer Shaun Wilson keeps watch on the front of New Jerusalem Elementary School Tuesday, Dec. 18. Wilson, who typically stands guard during regular school hours, is replaced by another person when he leaves. This ensures that the school has a posted guard to keep watch while students are on campus. Glenn Moore/Tracy Press
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School district officials throughout the Tracy area are re-evaluating school security procedures following the shooting at an elementary school Dec. 14 in Newtown, Conn., that killed 20 children and six adults.

A Saturday, Dec. 15, press release from Connecticut State Police said the gunman, 20-year-old Adam Lanza, used an assault weapon to shoot his way into Sandy Hook Elementary School, because the doors were locked as part of the school’s security system.

Officers found him dead in the school from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, along with six dead teachers and 18 dead students. Two children died later at a hospital, and Lanza’s mother was also found fatally shot in her home.

When news of the shooting reached Tracy, messages to parents were posted on the websites of Tracy and Banta by school district administrators, while emails were sent to parents of children in the Lammersville and New Jerusalem school districts.

Officials at the Jefferson School District were unavailable for comment this week, because the district office is closed for winter break.

New Jerusalem began its winter break Thursday, Dec. 20, while the other four districts had the final classes Dec. 14.

The statement from Tracy Unified provided parents with a link to the district’s Safety is Our Top Priority website, which outlines the district’s approach to school safety and emergency response scenarios.

Jessica Cardoza, spokeswoman for the district, said Monday, Dec. 17, that the district has “very detailed safety plans in place at all of the schools.”

“They participate in drills for emergency situations, lockdowns and shelter-in-place, fires and earthquakes, and we’ll continue to do those,” she said.

Like most school districts, visitors to a TUSD school must check in to the administration office and obtain a visitor’s pass prior to going on campus.

Cardoza said this procedure is to ensure the safety of the students, staff and the visitor if there should be an incident on campus.

If someone comes on a TUSD campus with a gun, all schools are immediately locked down, and teachers are instructed to lock classroom doors, Cardoza said. The students are instructed to get under their desks and stay away from doors or windows.

No immediate changes to the TUSD security plan are expected, Cardoza said, and district administrators are following updates of the shooting as they are released.

David Thoming, superintendent of New Jerusalem School District, said Monday that his students observed a moment of silence for the victims.

Thoming said he planned to invite parents to the next district safety committee meeting, tentatively scheduled for 2 p.m. in the school gymnasium Jan. 8.

“We’re looking at our security,” he said. “We feel pretty good about the things we put into place over the years. Anytime when something like this happens, it pushes the (security) conversations to the forefront.”

With the construction of a new classroom and administration building, Thoming said the district hired a security guard last year. He said the guard acts as an “extra set of eyes.”

He said the guard will be retained as a campus security officer when construction is completed.

“There’s always someone outside in front greeting people,” Thoming said. “It puts people on notice we’re paying attention.”

Thoming said he plans to have the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office conduct a safety review for the rural school in the near future. The last review by the sheriff’s office was two years ago.

“If there is something good that can come out of something so horrific, it’s that everybody is talking about it,” Thoming said.

Superintendent Albert Garibaldi posted a message on the Banta Elementary School District website Friday.

“All of us who work with children take our responsibility to keep them safe very seriously — As this morning’s incident shows, sometimes, in spite of our best intentions, evil forces can break our unspoken agreement,” he wrote.

Garibaldi said during a phone interview Monday that his elementary school has a safety plan in place with lockdown procedures, but all that is going to be re-evaluated.

“It caused us to take a second look at all of our safety procedures,” he said. “I had a meeting with the preschool program, and I’m meeting with the staff, and additional procedures may be put into place to monitor and improve security.”

Since Banta Elementary School was built in the 1950s, its campus has an open design, which Garibaldi said is something officials will have to reconsider.

“We’re taking this opportunity to review everything,” he said. “Review what may be available to help keep kids safe.”

Dale Hansen, superintendent of Lammersville Unified School District, said during a telephone interview Monday that he sent an email to parents on Friday to advise them about how to talk to their children about the Sandy Hook incident.

During the district’s winter break, Hansen said his administrators will review their crisis response and preparedness plans, which were already under re-evaluation.

“We went thorough lockdown procedures and practices in the last few weeks,” Hansen said. “The sheriff’s, firefighters and the full crisis response committee will be presenting an updated plan to the board in January. We already planned (an update) before this (incident).”

Hansen called the shooting “gut-wrenching.”

“It’s our most vulnerable part of our society, and it’s just wrong,” he said. “We all feel that way. Immediately we think of the safety of our kids and staff.”

• Contact Denise Ellen Rizzo at 830-4225 or drizzo@tracypress.com.
Comments
(28)
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debbdaves
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January 01, 2013
BTW BIB better to be born of two people than a woman and a donkey, or wait, a cow, given u live in Tracy.
debbdaves
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January 01, 2013
To the person who used my name, we must have the same father! My name is spelt debb daves while u spelt urs as deb ddaves.....BIB being the product of a leaky condom could not see well enough to read it.......poor repubtards who went to public school.....
Anonymous333
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January 01, 2013
I can't believe the name calling. Teachers DO NOT make a 5% increase in salary per year (called "steps"), more like 2.85%. Also, TUSD teachers are mandated too pay into those "great benefits" - anywhere from $700-1200 per month, plus nearly $500 for their pensions (STRS), another $120 for union dues... so takehome salaries are in the $3000-4000 ranges. They do spend on classroom supplies (thus able to write some off taxes), and many spend over $1500 per year. Finally, most have spend tens of thousands on their education (and required continuing education)-- student loans-- and some work more like 220 days a year (ie TLC). So get yur facts straight. You ARE NOT "AnACTUALTeacher"-- or you would know what you are talking about! BTW> this article is about how unsafe our schools truly are: Does commonsense suggest we do not LOCK our schools?!? Serious issue here, stop making it about professions and individuals--it's about safety!
cantsavetheworld
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December 27, 2012
Actual Teacher & Common Sense... I stand by what I said and I am an ACTUAL TEACHER that has done so for the last 20 years. If you believe that crap you wrote than you ARE NOT an actual teacher. You are an 8 - 3:30, 180 days a year, summers off teacher. You are a teacher that went into teaching for those reasons! YOU give dedicated professionals like myself a bad name. YOU are the reason the general public that has no clue what we do has such horrible misconceptions. When you are ready to step out of your little cotton candy, sparkly bubble you live in where you believe the crap you spew, come spend a week with a real educator. I highly doubt you would make it through one day!
anACTUALteacher
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December 27, 2012
Twenty years? That's how long I've been a teacher. As such, I wonder how well you're actually teaching your students when you obviously have trouble understanding things yourself. From your comments here alone, I hope you're not trying to teach English.

Your laziness, sense of entitlement and your need to come on here and let everyone know the quality of your teaching give you a bad name. Identifying yourself as a teacher gives everyone else in our profession a bad reputation.

Yes, I am a regular, normal teacher. I work a normal day and get my summers off. I am paid well and receive great benefits. I became a teacher because I am knowledgeable and want our future generations to be knowledgeable. I very much enjoy teaching and do not complain or make excuses while I am doing it. I also recognize the wonderful benefits of being a teacher, which includes decent pay, plenty of time off and great benefits.

I appreciate all this and don't feel entitled to even more. Maybe that's why I'm not considered an under-performing teacher. My students always do very well on the standardized tests and continue to be successful in subsequent grade levels.

You're a disgrace and an embarrassment.
backinblack
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December 27, 2012
"My parents were siblings!"

Absolutely classic, talk about explaining a lot in only four words.

Aren't you the one constantly calling Tracy residents a bunch of rednecks? Looks like in your case the apple doesn't fall far from the tree.
cantsavetheworld
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December 26, 2012
Princes & Common Sense.... are you freaking kidding me?! Ignorant people like you need to spend some time in the shoes of a teacher! Teachers may work 182 days of the year in the classroom with your children, however, our "jobs" are not done there! Most teachers have to supplement their ever shrinking salaries with outside jobs, take classes to further their education or training to better teach children in this crazy world! We purchase our own classroom supplies and the supplies of children who's parents don't give a rats ass about education and can't be bothered with getting things like pencils and paper at the dollar store for their 14 kids! We are required to be teachers, coaches, parents, counselors, babysitters, referrees, etc., with a smile on our faces, all while continuing to be screwed by the administrators and politicians that say education is a priority. And why do we do it?! All for those sweet little faces that greet us every morning wanting to learn and soak up every little thing we have to give them. NOT for the misinformed, ignorant people like you!
anACTUALteacher
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December 27, 2012
In all those classes, were you never taught grammar, spelling and punctuation? Did you throw it all out to make room for self-righteousness?

Teachers aren’t required to be coaches, parents, counselors, babysitters or referees. They’re required to teach, not because they were chosen by a higher calling, but because they chose it and are paid to do so by taxpayers whose kids might come to them for the required education. The problem is that most “teachers” act like they are babysitters with good pay, benefits and union protection.

Your salary’s not shrinking; it’s growing. On average, it grew by 5 percent last year. If you need a second job to supplement an average salary of more than $68,000, you’re doing something wrong. We shouldn’t feel guilty because you can’t manage your money.

You feel screwed by folks who say education is a priority because you’re not in it for the “sweet little faces.” You’re in it because you were ignorant and misinformed and weren’t told that being a teacher required work. Your pay, benefits and 3-month summer vacation feel threatened because you’re an under-performing teacher.

You’re the one who needs to spend some time in the shoes of a teacher.
debddaves
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December 27, 2012
My parents were siblings!
CommonSense321
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December 27, 2012
anACTUALteacher knows what they're talking about. I second everything he/she says.

You don't like being a teacher? Quit. Go find another job. And then struggle like everyone else in the world when you aren't guaranteed so much time off, salary increases in the steps and a lifetime job once you reach tenure.
dcose
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December 27, 2012
"My parents were siblings!"

In mountainous West Virginia ?
debbdaves
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December 26, 2012
Uncommon sense at its best. Teachers are being paid poorly and laid off. Ask the teachers.
princesaportuguese
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December 26, 2012
Teachers are not being paid poorly. They get a nice salary. Medical and dental as well. The average Tracy teacher pay was $68,531 up around 5% from 2011, with the superindentent making $200,714.
CommonSense321
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December 26, 2012
The superintendent makes no where near $200K. You must be looking at Stockton salaries...

And teachers are paid poorly??? REALLY? I would love to make $70K plus to work 182 days a year and less than 8 hours a day. Yes, some work more hours, but 182 days a year? Average that salary out to someone who works a more average 250 days a year and I'd say they're making a pretty nice chunk of change.
hope9192
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December 22, 2012
TUSD is not telling the truth. My child attends Williams Middle School. Wen they lost their clerical workers they taped off the front office doors. Now you go through the gates and to the student window. I never bother I just walk on to campus. People do it all the time. They still have secretaries but for some reason they can't be bothered and have us come in the front. Other schools are not like this, at other schools you have to go through the office. I am not sure what the problem at Williams is.

tracyschools
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December 21, 2012
now watch the dist will want more $$$ or cut programs
tracyschools
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December 21, 2012
now watch the school dist will want more money to hire more people or cut programs
debbdaves
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December 21, 2012
How much does Franco earn? Over a 150 K? And how much does it cost to put locks on the gates? You do the math. The TUSD is run by thugs who are leveraging heavy salaries, while the teachers are being laid off. The quality of education is low. The Police Captain spends his mornings talking to teenagers, while the city is running amuck. Welcome to Tracy.
CommonSense321
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December 26, 2012
THUGS? Really? How uneducated are you? (This is a rhetorical question...don't bother answering...).

Dr. Franco earns less than most superintendents in the state with districts Tracy's size and smaller. TUSD teachers earn MORE than the state average. And no teachers were laid off this year. Or last year. And all teachers laid off prior have been rehired back and/or offered their jobs back.

Visit the district building. There are less people there than in any other district in our area.

Sandy Hook was a tragedy. And they had LOCKED DOORS. Columbine had armed guards.

Do some actual research before posting harmful and ridiculous lies.
tracy_native
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December 26, 2012
I have to agree with debbdaves on part of this. Our officials are making too much at this time. School superintendent, police chiefs, city managers, etc. all need to take small salary cuts like the rest of the nation has in order for us to survive. It seems kind of stupid to me to pay the leader 5x more than any of the actual workers.

I know, I know, everyone's argument is that we need to compete in order to retain our talent. This is true only up to a point. We may not be competing with larger cities for many of these jobs, but I believe that the talent is out there for a lower cost if we look. If nothing else, then we will weed out the leaders that are more concerned with a paycheck and less concerned with supporting their community.
CommonSense321
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December 26, 2012
Look into the facts here...

The superintendent (along with all of those other 'highly paid administrators' you rant about) were the only group (and then followed by classified) to take pay cuts for several years. The teachers' union refused.

No one is making 5 times anyone there.

And with increasing health care costs, all employees have seen a dramatic decrease in their salary. Why the public believes differently is beyond me. But I guess it's always easier to rant and rave about high paid administrators when you don't know better.

Look into the real problems here - the teachers' union, CTA and state and federal level enormous programs taking away billions from local districts. Put the power in their hands and we'll see dramatic improvements. The two times money has gone directly to them - Measure E and Measure S - they've done MORE with LESS and saved the tax payers money while building new facilities and renovating others. That's the REAL truth.
CommonSense321
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December 21, 2012
The "bus-stodians" are bus drivers and custodians. They are doing the job of two people. Like many other TUSD employees.
ParentsandKids
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December 21, 2012
What about ALL of the schools in tracy? Staff and parents at Tracy Learning Center heard NOTHING about this incident! Nor do they practice lockdowns. The gates do not lock, and the campus is always wide open. Incidents of wackos coming on campus are numerous, and not shared with the community. There are not "bustodians" or any real security. As a K-12 site, charters (and the lack of Ed Code) are especially at risk! What can be done?!? Where is the accountabilty and checks-balances of what is going on there? When does the board meet, we have never seen any Board meeting info posted in TP like the other schools!
odinson
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December 21, 2012
Security at our public schools are a joke in Tracy. Adults come on campus without checking in for a pass. When you tell them they need a visitor's pass, they get confrontational. Earlier in the school year, 2 parents actually came on campus at Williams to confront students that they thought had insulted their children. They had to be escorted off campus. Some parents actually drive on campus to leave their children off closer to their class rooms! Tracy Unified has hired "bus-stodians" (God knows what they do). Some of these "bus -stodians" should be used to secure our campuses. Get them trained and put to good use. Every school site should have at least one security guard throughout the day. It makes sense.
tracyschools
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December 21, 2012
if you want too drive your car on schools grounds go ahead
ndskiz333
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December 21, 2012
FYI. Some good and useful information

http://www.bsis.ca.gov/customer_service/faqs/school_security_guard.shtml

Who must be trained?

All security guards or school security officers employed by a school district more than 20 hours per week must complete SB 1626 training (Business and Professions Code §7583.6 (a & b) & §7583.45). (All remaining references to code sections are to the Business and Profession Code, unless specifically stated otherwise).

What training is required by SB 1626 and when must it be completed by?

The bill requires completion of a training course developed by BSIS in consultation with the Commission on Peace Officers Standards and Training (POST). The developed curriculum consists of a 24 hour training course.

How can I obtain a copy of the approved training curriculum?

The curriculum can be obtained via the Internet at www.bsis.ca.gov/industries_regulated/syllabus.shtml.

Who is authorized to teach the required course? Can school districts teach the course?

SB 1626 does not establish criteria for instructors of the course. Any person designated by the local education agency (LEA) may teach the course. It is recommended that school districts use POST-certi


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