A recent series of dangerous incidents at schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District has officials pledging to make changes.
Among the biggest safety concerns are drugs, violence and traffic issues, LAUSD Superintendent Alberto M. Carvalho said. He also said that he and Mayor Karen Bass have been in communication about the problems, and both agree more needs to be done.
District schools have dealt with a slew of recent emergencies, including a stabbing near Los Angeles High School in the Mid-Wilshire area that sent two teenage boys to the hospital.
“A ninth grader and a tenth grader were stabbed,” Carvalho said.
Traffic collisions are another major issue for the district. This week alone, one student was struck near Fairfax High School and another by Joyner Elementary.
“Too many kids, almost on a weekly basis, are struck by vehicles,” the superintendent added.
On April 25, a mother was killed, and her 6-year-old daughter was injured when they were hit by a driver in a truck near Hancock Park Elementary School.
“We still have a 6-year-old in the hospital,” Carvalho said of the tragedy. “Vehicular incidents, the mayor and I agree, represent a huge concern for all of us.”
The superintendent added that another huge safety concern is the intrusion of the deadly opioid fentanyl and other dangerous drugs. Earlier this week, three students were hospitalized after apparently overdosing on an unspecified narcotic. They were given Narcan, a drug that helps people who have overdosed on opioids.
“They are reluctant to even admit that they had those drugs, but what we do know is that Narcan was used on those students,” Carvalho said.
In September, a teen died from a possible fentanyl overdose at Bernstein High School in Hollywood.
Since Narcan was made available in all LAUSD schools late last year, it’s been used 26 times, the superintendent said.
In a statement released on Wednesday, Mayor Karen Bass said:
“In the past two weeks, we’ve seen near-death overdoses at an LAUSD middle school, the death of a mother and critical injury of her child as they walked to school, and a stabbing on the grounds of an LAUSD school. These devastating incidents are unacceptable. Superintendent Carvalho and I spoke yesterday about strategies to keep our teachers, students and employees safe and together we will host convenings of stakeholders and community members focusing on safety in and around our schools. We must – and will – do more.”
The plan, according to Carvalho, is to bring together people to strategize on solutions to these issues, along with working to implement more traffic enforcement of speed limits and bringing in more crossing guards.