Dan Stepenosky explains district safety measures to students

Jessica Smith - Editor-in-Chief

The Las Virgenes Unified School District Board took initiative in reinforcing the safety of its students.  Earlier last month, LVUSD Superintendent Dan Stepenosky shared his research and personal insight on school violence with CHS teacher and The Courier’s adviser Patti Harris’ senior Expository class.  Expository English is a college preparatory course in which students learn about and discuss current issues in society through literature and media.  Harris was motivated to have a discussion with her class on school violence as she viewed it as a rising epidemic.

“I discovered that Dr. Stepenosky did his dissertation on Columbine and I invited him to come to my class as we discussed violence in schools,” said Harris.  “He was very excited to come speak to the class and I thought the first-hand information would be a unique viewpoint for my students.”

Before Stepenosky became involved with LVUSD he taught courses such as Advanced Placement Physics and Astronomy at Beverly Hills High School.  With a background in education, Stepenosky was motivated to expand his career in the educational field and study at the University of California, Los Angeles to get his Doctorate degree.  At UCLA, Stepenosky, along with his partner, wrote a dissertation on school shootings.  With research from Columbine High School, the site of a major school shooting back in 1999, Stepenosky feels he developed insight on the subject of school shootings.  Stepenosky’s background helped him formulate preventive measures for violence within LVUSD.  Stepenosky shared with the class that many of these measures go unseen.  For example, during early November when CHS underwent major media attention for the Los Angeles Shooting involving CHS teacher Brian Ludmer, the Lost Hills Sheriff’s Department had extra cars stationed on streets nearby the campus in case extra assistance was needed at any time.

“I appreciate hearing the students’ critical thinking and analysis while we explore serious issues in our society like weapons and violence and guns so I really like hearing the students engage in these thoughtful discussions,” said Stepenosky.  “I think sharing my experiences have helped make the students more comfortable and my goal is to help students realize that they are safe and protected and there are a lot of caring adults around them at all times.  We are all here for the students and we are doing the best we can.

LVUSD students and faculty feel they are more comfortable in their surroundings as they learn more about the protective measures that the LVUSD has in place.  Stepenosky hopes to have more critical thinking discussions with more students in the future.