The school shootings in Newtown, Connecticut, continue to prompt police and school district officials in Orange County to assure parents everything is being done to keep their children safe.
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The Garden Grove Police Department has summed up its response in a letter to the community, while a Tustin Unified School District letter to parents includes an invitation to a "School Safety Town Hall" tonight.
The Tustin letter follows, with the Garden Grove Police message on the next page.
Dear TUSD Parents:
We are saddened by the senseless and tragic violence that occurred in Connecticut on Friday. We want you to know that the safety of our students is our primary concern. Each of our schools has a Comprehensive Safety Plan in place.
Our local police departments provide assistance on the plans, and feedback on safety and disaster drills.
We all need to be connected to our children and mindful of the impact such incidents may have on ourselves and our students. We have included on our website some tips for talking to your children about the tragedy. Our website is at tustin.k12.ca.us. If you or your child has any concerns, I encourage you to contact your school principal.
Our hearts go out to the victims, their families and the community of Newtown.
The Tustin Unified School District and the city of Tustin are holding a School Safety Town Hall Meeting for parents on Thursday, Dec. 20 at 6:30 p.m. at Columbus Tustin Middle School, 17952 Beneta Way. I invite you to attend.
-Dr. Gregory A. Franklin, superintendent, Tustin Unified School District
Garden Grove Police Response to Incidents at Area Schools
The recent tragic events in Connecticut have brought the safety of our community and schools to the forefront. The Garden Grove Police Department, the Garden Grove Unified School District, and the Garden Grove Fire Department continue to work closely to improve the safety and response to schools in different emergency incidents.
The Garden Grove Unified School District received a federal grant to obtain the services of "Rapid Responder," a program that aids in the response to emergency situations within the School District. Rapid Responder was implemented with the input of the Garden Grove Unified School District; police departments from Garden Grove, Westminster, Fountain Valley, Santa Ana; and the Orange County Sheriff's Department. The respective fire departments from each city and county also provided additional information for emergency responses to large fires and/or chemical spills.
Rapid Responder is a comprehensive program that provides vital information and plans for the response to an emergency at any school in the District. Detailed information is contained in the program on evacuation plans, floor plans with photographs, sites for positioning of fire and police personnel, and designated areas for families to respond in an effort to reunite with their children. This pre-planning will aid the schools and emergency services in the best possible response to an event.
The Garden Grove Police Department has been training for the response to an active shooter scenario for over ten years. Specific incidents have led to a change in how police departments train for these situations. Every officer has gone through specific training and works closely with the schools in their assigned patrol areas on improving school security.
Our Youth Services Unit works directly with the Garden Grove Unified School District and participates in the District's training of school personnel in response to emergency situations. This partnership allows for the exchange of ideas and understanding to provide the safest environment at our schools.
School safety and security has always been a priority to both the Garden Grove Police Department and the Garden Grove Unified School District. We continue to prepare for these types of responses but our hope is that we will never have to implement our training in a real-life incident.