Santa Monica officials are responding to the horrific Texas school shooting by increasing security at local campuses and providing resources to individuals who need them. 

The gunman who massacred 19 children and two teachers at an elementary school in Texas warned in online messages sent minutes before the attack that he had shot his grandmother and was going to shoot up a school, the governor said Wednesday.

Salvador Ramos, 18, used an AR-15-style semi-automatic rifle in the bloodshed Tuesday at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, which ended when police stormed a classroom and killed him. He legally bought the rifle and a second one like it last week, just after his birthday on May 16, authorities said.

While no threats have been made against any local schools, officials said they have increased security as a precaution. 

In a letter to parents, Superintendent Ben Drati said SMMUSD has safety plans in place at each school and those documents are available to parents who make an appointment with their school office. 

“Santa Monica Police Department will be adding additional patrols to the schools both before, during and after school to provide a sense of security to our community,” said Drati. “Additionally, we meet regularly with our local law enforcement officials, both the Santa Monica Police Department and the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department, serving Malibu. These meetings include other city authorities and will focus on reviewing our current safety plans and discussing additional preventive and proactive measures that may be taken to better protect our students and staff from acts of violence.”

Police Chief Ramon Batista said residents can also contact SMPD’s Community Affairs Unit at (310) 458-8474 if they have questions. 

“The SMPD remains wholeheartedly committed to ensuring the safety of our community. Even though we have no information of any credible threats occurring in our schools, personnel within our department will show a strong presence around our local schools,” he said. 

Santa Monica High School and St. Monica’s High School have both been the subject of threats in the past and the City experienced a mass shooting at Santa Monica College.

In 2013, John Zawahri, 23, shot his 55-year-old father, Samir Zawahri, and his 25-year-old brother, Christopher Zawahri, and set their home on fire before shooting at strangers in cars and on the Santa Monica College campus during a rampage. The former student at the school was heavily armed and carried a duffel bag with 1,300 rounds of ammunition when officers killed him in the campus library. In total, six people died, including Zawahri. 

Drati recommended three resources to families. 

National Association of School Psychologists: Talking to Children About Violence: Tips for Parents and Teachers (https://www.nasponline.org/resources-and-publications/resources-and-podcasts/school-safety-and-crisis/school-violence-resources/talking-to-children-about-violence-tips-for-parents-and-teachers).

National Child Traumatic Stress Network: Parent Guidelines for helping youth after a shooting (https://www.nctsn.org/resources/parent-guidelines-helping-youth-after-recent-shooting).

Common Sense Media: How to Talk to Kids About Violence, Crime and War (https://www.commonsensemedia.org/articles/how-to-talk-to-kids-about-violence-crime-and-war).

editor@smdp.com