As President of the Washington Unified School District Board of Trustees, I recognize that we have a responsibility to listen to the concerns that our children have for their safety in schools. Millions of kids and parents are expressing their concern by marching all over the world including Sacramento. Like many of you, our board believes in good sense and preventative planning. There are steps I will recommend to our community and to our School Board to protect against gun violence in our schools. We will need the support and involvement of parents, students, staff, and the community.
On behalf of your School Board I am proud to inform you that the Yolo County Grand Jury determined that WUSD is the model school district in Yolo County for school safety. Two full-time police officers serve as School Resource Officers protecting our campuses. These officers meet the standard of training requirements and training resources provided for Police Officers, Deputies, Investigators, and Detectives. Our staff and administration will be receiving additional training specifically in preparing for school shooting incidents.
We know resource officers are not enough. That is why we have adopted best practices to meet a crisis, such as locking doors, requiring all visitors to sign in and ID badges. Our District is working with experts and technology in the event of any mass shootings anywhere in West Sacramento our schools should be alerted to go into an immediate lockdown. This will require coordination with our law enforcement officials as well.
Parents and community involvement is necessary to do more. We need to keep guns secure and out of the hands of children. According to Avery Gardiner, co-president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, “in 68 percent of school shootings, the shooter gets the gun from a parent or close relative's house.” Common sense tells us that we have to lock up guns securely so they are unavailable to children. This is a preventative measure that falls on our entire community. As long as guns are in every home, then every home has a duty to our children and our community to keep these guns out of the hands of children. If children have access to guns for any reason, then this access must be responsibly, parentally supervised.
Washington Unified has invested resources through our Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP) for mental health services and counseling for our students. We have many intervention services directly for our schools and students. However, intervention does not work without the involvement of parents, children and the community, who report threats of violence. School safety is enhanced with trained staff and student body that knows to report threats of violence for referral to a threat assessment team. In this manner, threats of violence will not be ignored.
Finally, I will ask our Board to pass a resolution supporting the efforts of the Parkland students to ban assault weapons. It may not be possible to prevent all school shootings. However, we can work together to greatly reduce the risk to our community.
Norma Alcala, President
Washington Unified School District
Board of Education