In collaboration with Board Member Scott M. Schmerelson, Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) Superintendent Austin Beutner has announced improvements in how Los Angeles Unified will prepare for natural disasters and emergency situations.

Beginning in 2020-21, schools will be required to hold at least one lockdown drill each semester so students and staff know how to respond when all doors are locked and no one is allowed to enter or exit the building. Each school will also develop a plan to rapidly move students to a designed off-campus location when staying on the campus is unsafe.

In addition, school employees will receive increased training in recognizing behavior that could escalate to campus violence. Los Angeles Unified will also increase efforts to inform parents about improved emergency response procedures.

“If a dangerous situation occurs, we want our students and employees to be familiar with how to respond,” Beutner said. “Preparing them to deal with emergency is an important part of our commitment to keeping our schools safe.”

“When a school needs to be locked down or evacuated because of a natural disaster, police activity in the neighborhood or threatened gun violence, our communities need to know that every student and adult knows what to do and has practiced what to do,” Schmerelson said.

Board Member Dr. George J. McKenna III noted the issues of emergency preparedness and lockdown drills “have become drastically vital in these last years,” and added  “while none of us wants to live in a world of terror, we must dedicate the necessary time and effort to create a school environment in which the children and staff feel safe, secure and prepared.”

Board Member Kelly Gonez, whose district includes the East San Fernando Valley, said “our schools must be safe and supportive places for all students, and today’s action shows our continued commitment.”