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LAUSD to add 1,000 aides for security at schools

Hamilton High School in Los Angeles near Beverly Hills.
Hamilton High School in Los Angeles near Beverly Hills.
Tony Pierce / KPCC

The Los Angeles Unified School District will spend $4.2 million to hire 1,087 campus aides to increase security at elementary schools.

A minimum of two aides will be added to each of more than 400 LAUSD elementary school campuses beginning March 1, the Daily News reported.

The aides, who will work three-hour shifts, will be unarmed but equipped with two-way radios and vests "for high visibility," according to a memo from Senior Deputy Superintendent Michelle King that was obtained by the newspaper.

The memo says required safety training for the new aides will be conducted online and will cover child abuse awareness training, employee duties during an emergency, mediating student conflicts, responding to threats on campus, conducting metal detector searches, and what to do if there is a school lockdown.

School officials plan to fill many of the positions with former LAUSD employees who have been laid off, the newspaper said.

The proposal comes a month after the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., that left 26 people dead, mostly first-graders.

Critics, including some parents groups, say the LAUSD plan is an attempt to boost security on the cheap. They say any new security hires should be fully trained, uniformed and full-time.

Scott Folsom, a Mount Washington Elementary School Parent Teacher Association member and state PTA board member, told the Daily News the new plan is "all smoke and mirrors."

"It shows to me, as far as I'm concerned, a lack of commitment to the challenge at hand. I'm very much aware what happened in Connecticut, and a person like that can't do anything to prevent what happened there," Folsom said of the campus aides.

But LAUSD school board President Monica Garcia said extra security staffing at schools is always a good thing.

"Another two people on each campus can help us maintain a safe environment that can ease the minds of our employees, parents and students," Garcia told the Daily News on Friday. "This way we can focus on reading and writing, teaching and learning."

There are already 1,028 campus aides at middle and high schools but the plan is to create the extra campus aide positions for elementary school campuses without aides, the newspaper said.

The campus aides will supplement the dozens of Los Angeles police officers who have been patrolling K-8 school campuses district-wide since Jan. 7.