SAN DIEGO (NEWS 8/CNS) - Law enforcement and education officials gathered Friday to discuss how schools can best prevent and address threats in San Diego County.
District Attorney Summer Stephan and the San Diego County Office of Education kicked off the meeting this morning with some 200 leaders gathered to talk about ways to address threats, including violent ones such as the threat of a school shooting, and offer input into how officials can further improve the regional response in such cases.
"The physical, emotional and mental well-being of students and staff in San Diego County schools are of paramount importance," Stephan said. "As tragedies continue to unfold across our nation, in which students of all ages, teachers and administrators lose their lives to acts of targeted violence on school grounds, we want to renew our commitment to making schools a safe place for students to learn and grow."
Since the start of 2018, law enforcement officials have forwarded 40 incidents of school threats to Stephan's office for review, which has resulted in 21 juvenile prosecutions, according to the office.
Other threats were resolved at the school level.
A team established by the DA's office works with law enforcement agencies to address school threats. That team planned to present an updated School Safety Protocol that will be used countywide.
Other presentations include one by clinical and forensic psychologist Manny Tau, and county student services leader Bob Mueller will offer practical tools that schools can implement immediately.
A lot of this is sparked by the recent school shooting in Parkland, Florida where 17 people were killed.
Since then there has been a spike in school threats, which is disruptive and disturbing for students, staff and parents.
Rancho Bernardo High School recently dealt with close to 20 threatening messages that were spray painted across campus.
These types of incidents have sparked several conversations both locally and across the nation.
In March, parents in Chula Vista met at a forum and were briefed on current school safety practices, including lockdown drills, tailored specifically for pre-teens.
Police, city and district officials also discussed a practice called 'Threat Assessment' which measures the likelihood of something occurring on school grounds. It's a tool that relies heavily on community involvement.