Armed Guards or Fencing at Andersen Elementary?

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Armed guards at Newport-Mesa elementary schools and fencing around Andersen Elementary in Newport Beach were two of the topics of discussion during a special meeting of the Newport-Mesa Board of Education on Tuesday afternoon.

According to the staff report, in spring and fall of 2013 district representatives met with the community regarding suggestions for additional fencing and/or other measures in an effort to address safety and security concerns regarding the Andersen Elementary School site.

Determination of what measures might be appropriately utilized at Andersen was postponed so that additional measure from safety professionals and further input from the community might be considered.

Presentations and reports were provided at the Tuesday board meeting by Orange County Intelligence Assessment Center, Alliance of Schools for Cooperative Insurance Programs, and Newport Beach Police Department.

Speakers from those organizations outlined an active shooter scenario, which they said is a rare occurrence yet one that schools are least prepared for, and could occur at a school without fencing (such as Andersen) or other appropriate security methods.

Fencing, they said, is a deterrent that can buy additional time in the case of an active shooter accessing a campus.

Two fencing options were outlined, but during that discussion the subject of armed security guards at elementary schools arose.

After much discussion among board members, and input from the public, the board decided to explore the option of fencing Andersen to the edge of the blacktop, and to make improvements to the security of the school entrance.

In addition to looking into the costs of fencing and alterations to the school’s entrance, Staff was also directed to look into costs and options of armed guards.

Results and recommendations will be presented at a future board meeting.

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