Evaluating Campus Security Following California Hostage Situation

Evaluating Campus Security Following California Hostage Situation

The standard campus entry policy at the front desk did not deter him.

An elementary school in California was evacuated last Tuesday after an upset parent barged onto campus and held a first-grade teacher hostage for more than six hours. The standard campus entry policy at the front desk did not deter him, witnesses said, and the situation was brought to a close when a police SWAT team entered the school and shot him.

The parent, Luvelle Kennon, entered the front office at Castle View Elementary School and was “probably the most upset parent I’ve had,” said Stephanie Zolfaghari, the principal’s secretary. She would not allow Kennon to follow the standard safety policy of signing in and getting an identification badge, but he forced his way in anyway, entering the campus through an unlocked glass door as Zolfaghari called for a lockdown.

District spokesman Justin Grayson said the door was unlocked all day because it is the only point of campus entry, both allowing parents to enter the school and students to enter the office.

In addition, no school district police officers were on campus at the time. According to Riverside Police Department spokesman Ryan Railsback, Riverside United has eight School Resource Officers, each of whom is assigned to one of the district’s nine high schools as well as its associated middle schools and feeder elementary schools. Officers travel between their assigned schools as needed but spend most of their time at the high schools.

Though the district declined to comment on security procedures, Riverside United school board vice-president Patricia Lock-Dawson said they will be “reviewing the events in the days to come.” Grayson said that officials are not prepared yet to discuss any upgrades to campus security.

About the Author

Jessica Davis is the Associate Content Editor for 1105 Media.

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