Superintendent Seeks to Reassure Families Following Florida School Shooting

Dr. Ben Drati

Dr. Ben Drati wants parents to feel safe sending their kids to Malibu and Santa Monica schools.

“We hope and pray that nothing like that ever happens in our schools or community,” Drati’s message said. “However, if it does, we are prepared as much as possible.”

Following yet another devastating school shooting that occurred Wednesday—in which 17 were killed when a former student brought a legally-purchased AR-15 to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in south Florida—local school leaders have reached out to parents and faculty letting them know what steps have been taken to protect students.

“We take safety very seriously, and practice our emergency response plans frequently,” Drati’s message said. “Our school site and district emergency operations and active shooter trainings are methods in which we learn and practice how to best protect students and ourselves.”

Drati went on to say the active shooter training at local schools is in coordination with professional fire and police officials, plus the cities of Malibu and Santa Monica. In addition, staff members are looking out for what they call “concerning behavior” among troubled students, as a way to prevent tragedies like what happened in Florida this week.

“Our staff, mental health coordinator, counselors and school psychologists are trained to conduct threat assessments on any student who shows concerning behavior and implement interventions, with parent coordination, when warranted,” Drati detailed.

The superintendent also included links to resources for parents: Talking to Children About Violence from the National Association of School Psychologists, School Safety Resources from the National PTA and tips to help children cope with a national tragedy from the Orange County Department of Education.

The Wednesday, Feb. 14 shooting in Florida was the 25th fatal shooting to occur in an American elementary or high school since the mass shooting at Columbine High School in 1999. The Columbine shooting occurred before virtually all the students currently enrolled in Malibu schools were born.