In the wake of the Florida school shooting, followed by several on-campus threats here, the Long Beach Unified School Board is expected to pass a resolution Wednesday urging "commonsense" legislation to reduce gun violence in schools.
In the resolution, the school board describes commonsense legislation as a nationwide ban of assault weapons, high-capacity magazines and bump stocks, as well as increasing the age at which people can purchase firearms. It also calls for implementation of a more in-depth background check process as well as requiring that all firearms be registered in a government system similar to the registration process for vehicles.
The resolution, which school board President Megan Kerr said has support from the board, further expresses the board's support for funding scientific research on causes and prevention of gun violence.
Finally, the board opposes arming teachers, referring to that proposal as counterproductive and dangerous.
The resolution is in response to the Feb. 14 shooting in Parkland, Fla., that killed a total of 17 students and teachers and injured others.
The tragedy prompted the Long Beach Police Department, as well as the school district, to encourage students and families to reach out to law enforcement if they hear or see anything that could indicate violence on a Long Beach campus.
"Students appeared to take to heart the message that if they see or hear something suspicious, they should say something," Chris Eftychiou, director of public information for LBUSD, said. "So by design, we all heard more discussion about potential threats."
Those threats have resulted in four arrests in Long Beach schools since February. The first two arrests happened in response to reports of violent threats by students at Wilson and Millikan High School on Feb. 21.
A third arrest was made on Feb. 22 when an eighth grade student made threats against Tincher Preparatory School, and the fourth arrest was made on March 1 when a student made threats agains Cubberly K-8.
There also were reports of a shooting threat at Poly High School, but LBPD made no arrests.
Students in the district are rumored to be planning their response for stricter gun control with scheduled walkouts on Wednesday, March 14, and Friday, April 20. March 14 is the one-month anniversary of the Parkland, Fla., shootings.
"Leaving campus during school hours to participate in political activity is not a safe and responsible way to work for change," Christopher Steinhauser, LBUSD superintendant, said in a release. "Students attempting to leave campus will not be held at school, but it’s important to know that disorderly conduct that disrupts school operations is not acceptable, and our usual expectations will remain in effect."
Eftychiou said that LBUSD will continue to work with law enforcement in an effort to keep school campuses as safe spaces to learn. Additionally, students and parents should not be surprised if the presence of law enforcement and safety officers is increased in the near future.
To report any information regarding a threat to a school, call LBPD by dialing 9-1-1, or (562) 435-6711 for a non-emergency.
Stephanie Stutzman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.