To Keep Students Safe, LCUSD to Open Tip Line; Readies for Walkout

La Cañada Unified School District recently has been wrestling with the right way to respond to an influx of difficult issues regarding drugs and school safety.
The response devised by administrators will involve, in part, a new tip line for reporting problems and a cohesive strategy for approaching planned walkouts on Wednesday, March 14.
Superintendent Wendy Sinnette indicated she expects the tip line to go live this week.
“A beta test was flown in the interim for review by the community and while we vetted it through legal counsel,” Sinnette wrote in an email. “Adjustments have been made given the advice of counsel and administrative updating and training will take place before it is officially launched.”
The Spartan Tip Line is expected to offer a form for students to fill out through the La Cañada High School website, according to an email from Principal Ian McFeat to families.
He suggested that students could use it “if they see anyone they are concerned may harm others.”
LCHS 7/8 Principal Jarrett Gold told students he expects the program to allow for both anonymous and confidential reporting, promising that the identities of those providing tips will be kept secret.
The school also recently conducted a lockdown drill following the shooting at a Florida high school that killed 17 people. The results of that drill are being evaluated by local law enforcement, McFeat wrote, adding “we are doing our best to keep everyone safe.”
As for the 17-minute walkout planned nationwide on March 14, the one-month anniversary of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, McFeat made clear that regular attendance procedures will apply and that, as a public school, LCHS is limited in its response to such an activity.
The walkout, which is being promoted by the Women’s March Youth Empower organization, calls for a national walkout at 10 a.m. across every U.S. time zone “to protest Congress’ inaction to do more than tweet thoughts and prayers in response to the gun violence.”
Some LCHS students last week said they consider the walkout, foremost, a way to remember those lost in school shootings. They also plan a candlelight vigil at 7 p.m. on March 14.
“Although some students may be interested in participating in upcoming political demonstrations that may take place… as a public school we cannot sponsor, direct or advise these activities,” McFeat wrote.
He said that while the school will not hold any formal activities on March 14, students were planning a “remembrance,” the details of which were not finalized but would be “safe and supervised.”
“LCUSD cannot endorse any actions taken by students that could be construed as a walkout or protest,” McFeat said, adding, “students are allowed freedom of speech and California state law does not allow a school to censor students who engage in speech of demonstration on campus.”
Administrators at LCUSD’s three elementary campuses, where conversations about school shootings can be delicate, also wrote to families to tell them schools could not endorse a walk-out.
They described plans that would involve grade-appropriate activities meant to emphasize values such as kindness and community but not specifically the events in Florida.
Danni Remender, who has a 1st- and 3rd-grader at Paradise Canyon Elementary School, said last week she and other parents hope to participate in a “peaceful get-together” on March 14.
“It seems like the parents who want to go will go take their kids and all congregate out front of PCY and make a circle and take 17 minutes to join together and feel supported by each other,” Remender said. “When you feel your hands are tied and there’s not much you can do, it’s helpful to show some solidarity in support of gun control.”

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