DOWNTOWN — Paparazzi who swarm a local preschool — a favorite among celebrities — can expect to see more police officers and security guards as they snap away shots of children and their famous parents.

Those are just a couple of measures suggested by city staff in a recent report to the City Council about the steps that can legally be taken to curtail the activities of photographers and videographers who hound celebrities in areas where children congregate, responding to such concerns from parents at the First Presbyterian Nursery School on Second Street.

The City Council in June directed its staff to investigate the issue and return with recommended regulations to protect the privacy of parents and students. The report however notes that City Hall has limited legal authority to control photographers because of First Amendment rights, particularly for activities that take place on public streets.

City staff instead suggests that a visible police presence be created during peak drop-off and pick-up times and recommends the nursery school hire a private security guard and train their staff on citizens arrest protocols.

The report also mentions other short-term measures that include issuing police citations for state and municipal code violations and collaborating with schools to identify discreet drop-off and pick-up areas for celebrities and their children. The city Planning and Community Development Department could also develop additional traffic controls.

A parent night focusing on safety measures could also be in the works at the school.

“City staff will continue to work with schools that experience safety concerns with paparazzi in an effort to provide safe and reasonable access to the schools for parents and children,” Assistant City Manager Jennifer Phillips said in a report to the council.

The issue first came to light earlier this year when Councilman Richard Bloom paid a visit to the nursery school after receiving calls and letters of concerns from more than 30 parents, including celebrities. He reportedly witnessed photographers hooking their cameras onto a fence, some even climbing up the divider between the playground and a nearby alley.

Preschool officials said last month that the problem has not been as intense during the summer when classes were not in session but expected the photographers to come back this month when one of the celebrity families was believed to return.

The Santa Monica Police Department has responded to more than a dozen calls regarding the paparazzi.

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