Margaret Carrero/KNX 1070

LA County Expands Program Seeking to Prevent Gun Violence on School Campuses

August 12, 2019 - 2:21 pm
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(KNX 1070) - In the wake of recent mass shootings, Los Angeles County is expanding a program that seeks to stop gun violence on school campuses before it can be carried out.

The key is training teachers, school administrators, parents, and students, how to identify a red flag such as recognizing that someone has become isolated.

"That's something to look for when an individual is expressing ideas of violence. That's very important and needs to be explored," said Dr. Jonathan Sherin,  director of the county’s mental health department.

The School Threat Assessment Response Team or START program exists under the county's mental health department. They help assess potential threats and intervene as needed.

Supervisor Janice Hahn led the effort to more than triple the program's scope and staffing.

"It is more prepared than ever to intervene at the first sign of trouble, the first cry for help," she said.

The START team now has 42 members compared to just 10 when it launched a decade ago. 

The ‘START’ 24/7 hotline is 800-854-7771.