Grand jury recommends more training for school shootings

SAN DIEGO -- The San Diego County grand jury recommended Tuesday that the region's school districts increase funding for training and resources to prepare for and prevent school shootings.

In a report released Tuesday, titled "School Safety in San Diego County -- How Prepared Are We for Another Active School Shooting?", the panel recommends that all county school safety plans address how to handle active shooter situations.

"Although the probability is low for a school shooting to occur, it is imperative that our schools be reasonably prepared for the possibility of such an event," the report says.

The report noted several San Diego County school shootings have occurred in recent years, including including a March 5, 2001, attack at Santee's Santana High School, which killed two students and injured 13 other people; a March 22, 2001, shooting at El Cajon's Granite High School that injured three students and two teachers; and an Oct. 8, 2010, shooting at Carlsbad's Kelly Elementary School, which injured two young girls.

The report also examined the preparation for and response to more recent school attacks that have gained nationwide attention, including the December 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting and last year's Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida.

Gathering from a review of recent school shootings, school district safety plans and interviews with education officials, the grand jury found that county campuses have generally done well to prepare for potential active shooter situations, but concluded there is room for improvement.

In particular, the report finds that some campuses have conducted drills related to intruders, but not necessarily armed intruders, and that active shooter incidents don't always receive the same focus in school safety plans as natural disasters like earthquakes and fires.

Among the recommendations detailed in the grand jury's report are calls for prioritized funding for training, equipment and infrastructure improvements on handling shootings' conducting "vulnerability studies" at all school sites that take into account each campus' unique topography and layout; and including substitute teachers and all other adult campus workers in active shooter training.

School safety plans should be a collaborative effort with school officials, law enforcement, first responders and mental health practitioners, the report states.

The grand jury recommends that its recommendations be incorporated by March 1, 2020, by the following school districts:

  • Bonsall Union Elementary School District
  • Cajon Valley Union School District
  • Carlsbad Unified School District
  • Chula Vista Elementary School District
  • Escondido Union School District
  • Rancho Santa Fe Elementary School District
  • San Dieguito Union High School District
  • San Marcos Union School District
  • San Ysidro Elementary School District
  • San Diego Unified School District
  • Sweetwater Union High School District
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