ALPINE UNION SCHOOL DISTRICT TO WEIGH SCHOOL SECURITY MEASURES AT FEB. 21 MEETING

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By Miriam Raftery

February 21, 2013 (Alpine)—In the wake of the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting, school districts across America are examining security procedures to consider the unthinkable – how to respond if confronted with a gunman aiming to commit mass murder.

The debate is raging in Alpine, where at least one parent is calling for armed guards in public schools.  On February 21, the Alpine Union School District Board will hear a report from Superintendent Pellegrino on school safety measures in place and new concepts to consider—ranging from enhanced lockdown procedures to potentially, adding armed guards and perimeter controls to local campuses.

Superintendent Tom Pellegrino has indicated that some recent upgrades in security have already been made, following visits with law enforcement.  “AUSD is learning from the best security forces in the world,” Pellegrino wrote in a letter to Lou Russo, an Alpine Planning Group member and parent who voiced concerns over school safety.  The Superintendent added that those measures include training by retired Navy SEALs. 

Russo, a former Provost Marshal with the U.S. Marines, has asked for armed guards to be posted in schools , citing as an example Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s deployment of an “armed volunteer posse to patrol schools” including retired police officers and service members who undergo “rigorous training” before providing a high visibility presence at schools “likely giving pause to anyone planning harm or mayhem,” Russo wrote in an e-mail to the Superintendent.

Pellegrino responded, “I know you would agree that serious due diligence is a must when we are talking about the potential for inserting guns on our campuses every day. The right people with the highest level of firearm target and hostile training, experience and training with youth, and impeccable judgment are nonnegotiable…Looking into the potential benefits and drawbacks of such a plan is what I would want as a parent and is what I will do as a Superintendent.”

To view the full agenda, click here.

The public meeting will take place on February 21 at 6 p.m. at 1323 Administration Way in Alpine, following a closed session at 5:30 on other issues.