PANORAMA CITY – City Attorney Mike Feuer today unveiled a comprehensive City Attorney Neighborhood School Safety Program that applies a vast array of resources to keep kids safe. The groundbreaking program—a pilot project focusing on four neighborhoods throughout the city-- tackles a wide range of issues, including assuring safe passages to school, combating truancy, protecting the neighborhood environment, reducing gun violence, and promoting parent education and empowerment.
Feuer was joined at Vista Middle School in the San Fernando Valley by LAUSD Board Member Monica Ratliff, Councilwoman Nury Martinez, and Los Angeles School Police Deputy Chief Jose Santome, in announcing the effort.
“School neighborhoods that are safe and healthy places for kids and their families are a top priority,” said City Attorney Mike Feuer. “With this exciting project, for the first time we’re bringing an arsenal of resources to bear on this neighborhood’s most pressing problems.”
The City Attorney’s Neighborhood School Safety Program (NSSP) was created with the participation of Vista Middle School staff and parents, who identified many of the neighborhood’s key safety priorities. In addition to Vista Middle School, the pilot program will be instituted at three other LAUSD Schools, located in each Los Angeles Police Department Bureau: Barack Obama Global Preparatory Middle School (South Bureau); Joseph Le Conte Middle School (West Bureau); John H. Liechty Middle School (Central Bureau).
"Student safety is extremely important to me,” said LAUSD Board Member Monica Ratliff.” If City Attorney Mike Feuer's Neighborhood School Safety Program shows the expected positive results, I would love to see it expand to all of our schools."
"As both a Councilwoman and a mother, I am glad that we are working together with the community to protect our children,” said Los Angeles City Councilwoman Nury Martinez. “If our kids aren’t safe, or if they are constantly bombarded with negative elements, how do we expect them to succeed in school and make good life choices that will improve their long term prospects?"
“The LAUSD and The Los Angeles School Police Department (LASPD) applaud City Attorney Mike Feuer and his Neighborhood School Safety Program staff for providing resources and focus on safe passages and overall school safety,” said Deputy Chief Jose Santome, Los Angeles School Police Department. “The LAUSD and the LASPD remain committed partners with the Office of the City Attorney, the Los Angeles Police Department, and other community stakeholders to ensure that school safety remains a top priority.”
Safety Efforts In The Vista Middle School Neighborhood:
Walking Safely To School: The City Attorney’s Office and Casa Esperanza have partnered with school officials and parents to create a safe passage to school program for Vista Middle School students starting this Fall.
Truancy Prevention: The City Attorney’s Truancy Prevention Program (TPP) works to combat truancy through educational letters, parent meetings, community meetings and hearings. TPP collaborates with several community partners including LAUSD, the Probation Department, and LAPD, to address truancy through multi agency attendance meetings called School Attendance Review Boards (SARB).
Protecting Community Health and the Neighborhood Environment: The City Attorney’s Office is spearheading a multi-agency School Toxics Taskforce to identify potential polluters within one mile of a school. The City Attorney’s Environmental Justice and Protection Unit has identified approximately 100 locations in close proximity to Vista Middle School with potential environmental violations. The taskforce is conducting inspections of those facilities as well as conducting multiple internal compliance audits.
The City Attorney has filed two criminal cases in alleged incidents of improper disposal of pollutants and toxic substances at locations within blocks of Vista School.
Delacruz Recycling, located across the street from the school, allegedly allowed water runoff from its business to discharge pollutants into the Pacoima Wash. The complaint alleges failure to follow environmental regulations on containing runoff from the business (best management practices, or BMPs), and discharging pollutants into the Pacoima Wash.
EV Auto Body was charged with State and Municipal Environmental Code violations for allegedly discharging unlawful levels of these pollutants called surfactants and suspended solids while washing the metal shavings and bondo dust from their car repairs into our storm drain system. EV Auto was also charged with not following BMPs, since they are supposed to use dry clean-up procedures like vacuuming or sweeping instead of washing these pollutants into the gutter.
Empowering Parents To Take Action On Key Safety Issues: The Neighborhood School Safety Attorney coordinates the Parent Safety Cadre, which educates parents on how to address safety issues in the neighborhood surrounding the school. These efforts already are yielding important results: Following the first course on tobacco enforcement, a parent from the Vista cadre reached out to a local store because it was selling e-cigarettes to minors. The newly-educated parent apprised the business of a new local law prohibiting these sales, and persuaded the store’s owners to stop selling e-cigarettes to minors immediately.
Preventing Gun Violence: The City Attorney’s Gun Violence Prevention Coordinator works with LAPD to ensure that individuals who reside near any of the four NSSP Schools, who are prohibited from owning or possessing firearms, do not have guns or ammunition.
Clamping Down on Parole Violators: Los Angeles Strategy Against Violent Environments near Schools (LA SAVES), is a multi-agency law enforcement task force coordinated by the City Attorney’s Office that conducts compliance checks on probationers, parolees and registered sex offenders who reside near school campuses to assure none is in violation of any law. LA SAVES conducted one such operation near Vista Middle School on Tuesday, August 12th resulting in nine felony arrests and the removal of five children from unsafe environments.
Educating the Broader Community: The City Attorney’s Office also aspires to educate the broader community on key issues, ranging from school safety to truancy prevention. Kicking off this effort, the City Attorney has created brochures, door hangers, and posters on these topics.