Steve Zimmer


School Safety Takes More Than Guns, It Requires Attention to the Deep Roots of Violence

If our sole response to guns in schools is more security personnel, then our only plan is to stop a rampage with brute force.

In the wake of the Sandy Hook tragedy, where 20 young children and 6 adults were killed by a gunman, the issue of school safety is on the mind of every parent and educator. No one disputes that our schools must be safe and our children must feel safe inside of them. But the debate over how to achieve that goal has become a national conversation with many ideas, from allowing teachers to carry concealed weapons to stationing attack dogs inside schools.

Here in Los Angeles, we have increased police patrols in schools and this week, Superintendent John Deasy will put a proposal before the School Board to hire 1,087 new part-time aides at elementary, middle, and span campuses. This staff will be performing security duties as well as conflict mediation. As the Los Angeles Unified School Board representative for District 4, I support adding this additional layer of security to our schools and will support adding school police officers to middle and high schools as well. But our schools and our children will not be safe until we take a holistic and comprehensive approach to ending violence by increasing mental health services and focusing on social-emotional learning models (SEL) that are proven to decrease problem behaviors and increase academic success.

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