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Some Beverly Hills Parents Are Uncertain About BHUSD Security

Are you satisfied with the security at your child's school?

Some Beverly Hills Unified School District parents remain uncomfortable with school security despite several meetings on the topic and a joint BHUSD-Beverly Hills Police Department statement about security measures released Dec. 17.

“More needs to be done to make the campuses safer, particularly at Beverly High,” said Amie Alper Deutsch, whose children attend Beverly Hills High School and Beverly Vista.

Special meetings were held this week at El Rodeo, Beverly Vista and Hawthorne schools to go over security procedures with parents and hear their concerns. Those meetings followed a Dec. 17 gathering of all Beverly Hills private and public school principals held with BHUSD Superintendent Gary Woods and BHPD Chief David Snowden.

“The shooting happened on Friday [Dec. 14] and by Monday afternoon we were all meeting with Dr. Woods and the police chiefs to review security procedures,” Horace Mann Principal Steve Kessler said. Kessler did not hold a security meeting at his school because he has not received many inquiries from parents worried about security, he said.

BHPD has increased their school patrols since the shooting and are also conducting emergency drills. Other security measures may be implemented.

“We are working closely with BHPD and will likely standardize a number of security measures,” Woods told Patch. “This is not a short-term fix—this is a long-term consideration…We are not discussing specifics of our plans. Those that need to know [already] know.”

BHUSD board member Brian Goldberg said this week in a commentary that he would like to see each campus “limit access to one controlled entry…and place armed guards with metal detectors at that one entrance.” Still, he noted, that plan is impractical if the district is to comply with fire codes and keep campuses open in accordance with the BHPD-Beverly Hills Joint Powers Agreement.

Security procedures at the five city schools vary widely. Hawthorne, for instance, has its campus completely gated and closed to the public from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. The high school has an open campus, with multiple reports coming in to Patch that it is easy to access the main building, even though several security officers are on staff.

“Why are we spending thousands of dollars on high school security officers who are unarmed and sit in 20-year-old golf carts?” asked Deutsch, herself a BHHS alumna.

During a visit to BHHS on Tuesday afternoon—several days after the Newtown shooting—Deutsch said there were no guards at the gate and no one stopped her from entering the school.

“When I pulled up to the glass doors I saw several security guards sitting there and talking,” she said.

Parents on other campuses expressed similar concerns and asked that the district immediately begin with simple improvements.

“Why can’t teachers be able to lock their classrooms from the inside?” asked one El Rodeo parent. “That would be a start.” 

Do you think BHUSD schools have lax security? Do you have any experiences to share? Tell us in the comments section below. 

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Lily Daisy December 21, 2012 at 07:06 PM
As far as I know, El Rodeo has just one entrance and exit, which I think is wise. However, they also have an intercom system which doesn't work well and which hardly ever gets answered from what I've observed. Police at the school entrance has so far been sporadic and the only activity I have witnessed from police was to immediately upon exiting the police vehicle the officer issued a ticket to a mother who was waiting in line for her child and was apparently too far forward in the line! This is not helpful! So, do I think there should be a police presence at least circulating El Rodeo throughout the school's hours of operation? Yes, and continuously. But, if they are going to use that security watch to hand out tickets to waiting parents, then no. In addition, an up to date security system is needed there and a full time Security Officer to stand guard at the front of the school so that the guard could give the "ok" to officers going by on their rounds. These erasures would be a good start and would give me a certain comfort level that BH takes seriously the protection of their precious children.
George Vreeland Hill December 22, 2012 at 05:28 AM
As long as guns remain in society, there will always be the threat that your child could be next. The NRA and its stupid plan for the nation's schools must go. Get rid of guns. We have have enough of gun violence. The NRA is not part of the solution. They are part of the problem. I am also uncertain about BHUSD security and uneasy because of the ease in which sick minds can get guns. Security will not stop the shootings. There are too many guns and too many idiots out there. Get real. Ban the real problem ... guns.
Anthony Daniel December 24, 2012 at 05:27 AM
Yes, exactly Lily. You made very good points, every one of them.
Anthony Daniel December 24, 2012 at 05:39 AM
I'm sure the U.N. and England and many other outside countries share your views, not to mention every shady government branch newly formed, that is eroding this country's strength, which by chance is influenced heavily by many outside interest. But sadly I'm sure the gun manufactures that are owed by most people you vote for or their buddy, don't share your views, and buddies stick together don't they George ;)

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