District releases audit of coordinated school safety plan
By Paul Kruze, Contributing Editor
Meeting recording provided by ECM: ECMCVUSDStudentSafety
March 11, 2019 (El Cajon)--Following a safety and security audit recently conducted by AECOM and DMB Consultants, two security engineering firms specializing in building security audits, the Cajon Valley Union School District (CVUSD) has been conducting a series of town meetings at local schools over the past month. The meetings are being held throughout the district to advise parents on what the district is doing to improve student safety and building security.
Meetings have so far taken place at Hillsdale Middle School, Grossmont Middle School, and Montgomery Middle School. Future meetings are set to take place at Cajon Valley Middle School on March 14, Emerald Middle School on March 21, and Los Coches Creek Middle School on March 27, all at 6 p.m.
Ryan Love, CVUSD’s Safety and Security Coordinator, began the meeting with an overview of the recent security audit followed by a panel discussion with local law enforcement personnel and CVJSD Superintendent David Miyashiro, EdM (photo, right).
AECOM (aecom.com) is a global network of design, engineering, construction and management professionals. DMB Consultants (dmbconsultants.us), is a Fallbrook-based security and emergency management consulting firm.
According to Love, the safety and security audits conducted by the two firms came about after four serious safety incidents.
- A Hillsdale Middle School student’s laptop was stolen and hacked. The hacker posted threats of violence and a “message of hate” in general toward the school. In a letter distributed to parents and posted on the district’s website, the investigation confirmed that it was not a serious threat.
- At Greenfield Middle School, a parent reported seeing a threatening message on their child’s social media account. After law enforcement was notified and an investigation was conducted, the threat was deemed “not credible.”
- On Nov. 8, a lockdown at Hillsdale Middle School was caused by a student calling 9-1-1 after overhearing a weapon might be on campus. No weapon was found.
- In yet another incident, a student posted lyrics that include messages of violence. Some who read the message did not recognize the post as a song lyrics and interpreted them as threats to the Hillsdale Middle School campus.
While Love said that the incidents had no connection with each other, “they all share the common theme of threats to safety in general and physical harm to others, specifically.”
At the Hillsdale Middle School event moderated by school board Vice President and Trustee James P. Miller, Love broadly identified the main areas of security concerns: fire, hostile parents, unauthorized access to campus property, targeted attack, custodial interference between adversarial parents, and crimes scenes elsewhere that gravitate onto school property.
Recommendations made by the security consultants include establishing a uniform emergency response to incidents and installation of locking devices. Also, in the near future, a toll-free dedicated CVUSD safety and security tip phone line will be established.
Although he has since been replaced by the San Diego County Sheriff’s office due to an ongoing federal investigation, then-Captain Marco Garmo told the small crowd of parents that during an active school incident, “The last thing in our minds are parents.”
He encouraged parents to “be patient.” The first priority during a situation is to make sure that all of the students are safe and to deal with the cause of the emergency situation.
Garmo also encouraged parents to “understand what is in your child’s backpack. But also understand which is on their social media,” he said. “We need your help on this.” He also urged parents to not only be vigilant about their children’s use of social media, but also urged them to use it responsibly and “don’t create havoc” with inaccurate posts.
Lisa Mafey, a Hillsdale Middle School parent, was quick to praise the participants of the town hall meeting and the scope of the material presented. However, she expressed concern that the school district is not going far enough by training school personnel to deal with emergency incidents. “Nobody said a word about training students on what to do during an emergency,” she said.
Editor’s note: East County Magazine (ECM) made a California Public Records Act request on Feb. 18 to the CVUSD administration for the presentation slides used at the school safety and security presentations. Unfortunately, ECM was given a document with blurry images. Attempts to gain access to a readable document were ignored. ECM is consulting with its attorneys regarding its thwarted request for documents related to this article.
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