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Extra police at LAUSD campuses criticized by one group

January 7, 2013 | 12:36 pm

Students returned to school Monday with an increased presence of Los Angeles police officers on elementary and middle school campuses, although one group says the move sends the wrong message.

“Many students have faced acts of violence in their lifetime and they should be provided with mental health assistance to address their real needs,” said Manuel Criollo, lead organizer for Community Rights Campaign. “A police-only response has consequences that are in violation of their civil rights.”

Officers were joined by the L.A. County Sheriff's Department and other law enforcement agencies in patrolling the Los Angeles Unified School District's more than 500 public elementary and middle schools. The patrols will continue daily.

The increased security follows last month's shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., where a gunman killed 20 children and six adults.

“We understand why people want to act,” Criollo said. “It’s not wrong, but we disagree with it.”

Looking at specific needs of the entire community is key in resolving conflicts without violence, Criollo said.

LAUSD Supt. John Deasy, along with school board President Monica Garcia and Los Angeles School Police Chief Steve Zipperman, visited elementary schools Monday morning before students arrived.

"We really appreciate the cooperation and the partnership with LAPD," Deasy said.

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-- Dalina Castellanos

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