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Parents, Teachers Team For Safer Walks Home

Parents at Vista Middle School say their kids are targets during the walk to and from school. The City Attorney's new program hopes to partner groups to make the walks safer.

In the Northeast San Fernando Valley, parents say a bustling Roscoe Boulevard and a near-silent Pacoima Wash are both dangerous obstacles for students traveling to and from Vista Middle School.

Parents frequently share information with each other, telling each other the things they’ve witnessed between kids.

"I see a lot, a lot of kids hitting, pushing around, doing a lot of crazy stuff to little kids,” said Daysi Canales. She said she knows her kids are safe while in school, but worries about the walk to-and-from home each day.

She says she’s heard stories of kids being hurt within blocks of the campus.

In a group meeting, fellow parent Jacqueline Oliva addresses the dangers they all face.

"Somebody want to share what's happening in our community?," she asks

It’s these types of discussions that could be game changers for students safety, City Attorney Mike Feuer says.

"We are recruiting and training 15 members of the Vista parent community who will assure that on their way to school, our kids are safe," Feuer says.

Feuer announced Monday a Neighborhood School Safety Program to combat dangers on the street, truancy and even environmental health of LAUSD students.

"We're going to assess how effective we are as we go through this process," Feuer says.

The program is starting at Vista Middle, with plans to expand to middle schools district-wide.

Principal Joe Nardulli says his school was chosen as the pilot school, unfortunately, because of all the problems that surround this neighborhood.

"There's a lot of challenges with regards to gang activity, tagging crews, etc. and those individuals often will look for students as they walk to and from school to engage them," Nardulli says.

The idea is to share information with neighborhood prosecutors within the City Attorney’s office.

"There's gonna be more people concerned and it's gonna have people watching around, what's going on," Canales says.

Parents, educators and city officials hope those additional eyes will keep kids safer.
"When parents, when schools, when administrators and city officials work together, we have results,” Nardulli says.

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