1,000 campus aides will be added to LAUSD elementary schools
The Los Angeles Unified School District plans to hire more than 1,000 campus aides to help boost security at elementary schools, a $4.2-million plan that will more than double the number of assistants employed by the district.
The move — outlined in a memo Senior Deputy Supt. Michelle King sent to board members and Supt. John Deasy last week — will bring 1,087 new hires to elementary, middle and span schools, ensuring each campus has at least two aides. According to the memo, which was first published by the Daily News, 1,028 aides currently work at middle and high schools, but some elementary schools have none.
The district is taking steps to bring in the aides as quickly as possible, the memo said, "working diligently with various divisions to ensure that we successfully staff our schools with efficient personnel as early as March 1, 2013."
The memo said the district planned to reach out to former employees as potential hires and planned to ask current employees "to identify potential candidates so as to enhance both the quality and quantity of our candidate pool and fill these positions as quickly as possible."
Aides will receive mandatory training in child abuse awareness, mediating student conflicts, conducting a "random metal detector search" and responding to campus threats, the memo said. They will also receive instruction on what to do if a school is placed on lockdown and their assigned duties during an emergency.
Aides, who will work in three-hour shifts, will be equipped with two-way radios and vests "for high visibility," the memo said.
Monica Garcia, president of the Board of Education, called the plan a "good thing."
"It means another human being — two human beings — helping the work of the school," Garcia told The Times. "It is about safety. It is about supporting the work of the campus. It is about another set of eyes ... another pair of helpful hands."
The move comes just weeks after a rampage at a Newtown, Conn., elementary school, where a gunman killed 20 children. He is also accused of killing six adults. The shooting sparked increased conversations about school safety across the nation and resulted in changes at many districts, including LAUSD.
Both Los Angeles police and the Sheriff's Department have increased their daily patrols at area schools in the wake of the incident.
"Safety is an everyday challenge for all of us and it is our collective responsibility," Garcia said. "We live in urban America, and so we are on a constant mission to have safe campuses to focus on learning."
— Kate Mather