By Jeremiah Dobruck
10:18 PM PST, January 10, 2013
Reacting to a Thursday school shooting in Kern County, Newport-Mesa Unified School District officials sent out a phone message meant to reassure parents — much as they did after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting last month.
"As a district, we continue to evaluate our safety and security measures at all of our campuses. This has taken front and center of all of our activities in the district," Supt. Fred Navarro said in the recorded message.
The phone alert was sent just after noon Thursday to 22,000 parents of students in Newport Beach and Costa Mesa, district spokeswoman Laura Boss said.
It was also posted on the district website and distributed electronically.
An attacker at Taft Union High School near Bakersfield, about two hours by car north of Los Angeles, reportedly shot a fellow student with a shotgun before school employees could stop further violence.
"It's a sad state that we're in that teachers have now become on the front lines of this," Boss said.
She emphasized that the district is considering expanding its lockdown drills and including curriculum about how to run from, hide from, or fight intruders.
Newport-Mesa school officials have been reevaluating their security measures since the Dec. 14 shooting in Newtown, Conn., where a gunman killed 26 students and school employees.
The message from Navarro encouraged parents to contact principals if they have security questions and reminded them that the safety review is ongoing.
"We wanted to make sure that all of our parents received a follow-up message that we were working on this," Boss said.