Valley's active-shooter drills to be upgraded

Updated: Dec 18, 2019

The Valley Star and Deputy Pastrano talk active-shooter protocol and safety.

By Cesia Lopez, Staff Writer

In light of California’s most recent school shooting at Saugus High School, active-shooter training and drills on campus will get an upgrade in 2020.

“Could it happen? Yes. The possibility is there. In any of the nine [LACCD] campuses it’s open and the possibility for a real life active shooter situation happening is pretty high,” stated Deputy Pastrano, who had just returned from an active shooter drill at Valley that day. “It’s a matter of when it will happen, not a matter of if.” 

According to The New York Times, authorities are reported to have thwarted two other potential school shootings in the Los Angeles County since the deadly shooting on Nov. 14 which left three dead and three more injured. Both schools that received the criminal threats, Animo Mae Jemison Charter Middle School and Knight High School, are within a 50 mile radius from Saugus High. 

“Look around. [Avoid buildings with windows], lock the door and barricade it.” said Deputy Pastrano. “Shooters, for the most part, look for easy targets. So make it hard for them. Silence your phones, turn off the lights, and stay away from the center of the room.”  He advises students to get to know the campus as they are walking around, and to have a plan of action if anything does happen. Run, hide and fight is the motto Deputy Pastrano and his team are teaching.

Eventually there will be a large-scale active-shooter training that will involve the entire campus. Currently, training is relegated to lockdown drills in specific buildings at Valley as the district is dividing training into different sections. 

The Daily News reported that beginning in the 2020 school year, LAUSD will be required to hold at least one lockdown drill each semester and LACCD campuses will be tested yearly on “emergency response and evacuation procedures, including appropriate drills, exercises and follow-through activities.” Schools will also need to have a plan that quickly moves students off campus in the event of an emergency. 

“Knock on wood and hope that this never happens but that’s why we’re trained and training always, we’re preparing for that. And if it ever happens, we’ll do our best to minimize the injury.” said Pastrano “We’re here [on campus] 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days. So as soon as we get the call we will respond immediately.”

If there is an emergency and it is safe to do so, call the Sheriff‘s Office at extension 2911 from any campus phone or 818-947-2911 from a personal cell phone. Do not assume that someone else has reported the incident.

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