Message from Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District Superintendent Dr. Ben Drati

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Dear Parents, Guardians, Staff and Community Members,

Sadly, we have learned of another horrific school shooting, this time in the Uvalde, Texas area. Our hearts and thoughts go out to the families and staff of Robb Elementary School.

We understand that school safety is on the minds of students, parents, staff and community members. It’s also in our heads.

In this case, law enforcement believes the shooter to be a high school student or graduate who entered campus. At SMMUSD, we have worked and continue to work to reinforce the perimeters and entrances of elementary school campuses. By creating better defenses, we reduce the potential threat.

For middle school and high school, there have been incidents where threats come from within, by a student attending the school. High schools require a different approach that focuses primarily on reducing the threat through interventions before the person walks in with a weapon.

As with all other school shootings, Columbine, Sandy Hook and many more, we will investigate what happened and reinforce our best practices to reduce threats.

We have safety plans in place at each of our schools which we constantly review, evaluate and practice. You can find our general safety plan on line. Each school plan is personalized and updated annually. You can make an appointment with your school’s secretary to review your school’s plan.

The Santa Monica Police Department will be adding additional school patrols before, during, and after school to give our community a sense of safety. Additionally, we meet regularly with our local law enforcement officials, both the Santa Monica Police Department and the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department, serving Malibu. These meetings include other city officials and will focus on reviewing our current safety plans and discussing additional preventative and proactive measures that could be taken to better protect our students and staff from acts of violence. .

We regularly review our threat assessment protocols with our staff and local mental health professional partners. We continue to encourage staff, students and community members to say something if they “see something”. In addition, report problems to school personnel, call 911 and/or use WETIP is strongly encouraged.

The safety of students and staff is our top priority. Our goal is to engage students in safe, well-maintained, family-friendly schools.

Here are three resources that may be helpful to you and your family in times of school tragedy:


Please continue to take care of yourself and others.
Sincerely,
Dr. Ben Drati, Superintendent

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