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LAUSD Candidate Karla Griego on Student Safety

She responds to questions about the safety of students including one about uniformed police officers operating on LAUSD campuses.

By Carl J. PetersenPublished 2 months ago 5 min read
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Karla Griego (Photo provided by the candidate)

“The best ways to keep schools safe is by giving them social-emotional support, staffing, enrichment and programs like safe passages. [Students] need to feel that everyone at school is there to help them and is a resource they can lean on”

– BD5 candidate Karla Griego

Karla Griego is one of the four candidates running for the LAUSD Board District 5 seat that is currently held by the retiring Jackie Goldberg. According to her website, she has been endorsed by UTLA, the union representing teachers, nurses, and counselors in the school district.

In past iterations of the ongoing Candidate Forum series, Griego has answered questions about PROP-39 co-locations and the budget. For this edition of the series, the questions focused on student safety issues. For background information about the questions, please see the introductory article: LAUSD Candidate Forum: Student Safety.

The following are Griego’s responses, published with only minor formatting changes:

  • In non-emergency situations, should uniformed police officers be operating on LAUSD campuses? NO

  • While charter schools are required by policy to notify parents when the district issues a Notice of Violation, families at Granada Hills Charter High School were not specifically told that construction projects had endangered “the health and safety of students, staff, and other individuals.” Should the refusal of a charter school to keep parents informed of these types of hazards result in the revocation of the charter? YES

  • After a 2008 NBC 4 report exposed the existence of lead In LAUSD Facilities, the District instituted a "stop-gap measure" requiring schools to run “every fountain ‘a minimum of 30 seconds’ before school each day.’” Fifteen years later, the district still warns users of these fixtures to "flush cold water for 30 Seconds prior to use.” As a Board Member would you prioritize removing old fixtures containing lead from all school facilities? YES

  • Do you have any other thoughts that you would like to express about this subject?

I believe that all children deserve to feel safe in schools. Research shows that children feel safe in schools when they are surrounded by trusted school staff: counselors, teachers, campus aides, school climate advocates and programs like Safe Passage. This personnel can support a positive school climate culture. The best ways to keep schools safe is by giving them social-emotional support, staffing, enrichment and programs like safe passages. They need to feel that everyone at school is there to help them and is a resource they can lean on: a teacher, a counselor, a school climate advocate, a campus aide, a PSW, etc.

Likewise, when students have enrichment and curriculum that values their humanity and culture, they feel like they belong, feel connected and safe. That is why, if there is an emergency or if students know of potential danger, they feel safe to tell someone who can help with that. With safe passage programs, we can employ trusted adults in the community to watch over students as they walk to school, ensuring that they arrive safe and sound.

Two initiatives that provide schools with all of these supports and programs are Community Schools and the Black Student Achievement Plan. They are critical to building a school community that is safe-where students feel a sense of belonging and connection. That is why I support more investment in these two programs because they create and build the schools our students deserve. Therefore, I will engage the communities in my District to talk about real safe schools and how community based safety practices can center our students' socio-emotional well being.

Climate justice is a social and racial justice issue as well. Our District needs to lead the way to “green our schools”. We need to make sure that our students and communities have clean drinking water all the time at every school. Filtration systems and water bottle refill stations should be installed at all schools in the District. As our earth gets hotter and climate change is ever more present, we need to make sure that our schools are equipped to meet the needs we will face.

We have many schools that are in heat islands. It is vital that we set up cooling stations outdoors; opening our schools to community members who do not have air conditioners; creating more shade at all campuses by planting canopy trees; getting rid of the concrete and asphalt and creating green spaces- open, park-like areas where students and school community can play, plant, read, socialize and meditate.

A lot of our schools are in urban settings with no parks nearby. If we were to create park-like green spaces in schools, our students in the urban areas and in the heat islands would have access to quality green space on a daily basis. Green school yards can help our school communities with reduced stress, improved concentration, and better health- all important for learning. Through shared use agreements, we can open these spaces to the community at large during non-school hours.

Through all of these efforts, parents and community members must have input into what they see are the needs of their school in regards to climate justice and what they would like the District to do to improve access to green spaces, clean water and proper heating and cooling. Furthermore, I will engage community, union members, parents and students to discuss what our District should do to prepare our students for green jobs. For example, collaboratively and collectively identify programs, internships and apprenticeships for our students and community members.

___________________________

Carl Petersen is a parent advocate for public education, particularly for students with special education needs, who serves as the Education Chair for the Northridge East Neighborhood Council. As a Green Party candidate in LAUSD’s District 2 School Board race, he was endorsed by Network for Public Education (NPE) Action. Dr. Diane Ravitch has called him “a valiant fighter for public schools in Los Angeles.” For links to his blogs, please visit www.ChangeTheLAUSD.com. Opinions are his own.

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About the Creator

Carl J. Petersen

Carl Petersen is a parent advocate for students with SpEd needs and public education. As a Green Party candidate in LAUSD’s District 2 School Board race, he was endorsed by Network for Public Education (NPE) Action. Opinions are his own.

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