West Los Angeles College
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Threat assessment

  CAMPUS SAFETY HOME | Emergency Home


Emergency Number

 

emergencyCAMPUS SHERIFF .............. Dial

(310) 287-4311 (or ext. #4311)

(310) 287-4314 (or ext. #4314)

(310) 287-4315 (or ext. #4315)

 

LOCATION: C3 Building (Parking Lot 5)

Plant Facilities ........... Dial

(310) 287-4307 (or ext. #4307)

 

Campus Operator ...... Dial 0

 
In the event of an emergency on campus, contact the Campus Sheriff first at Extension 4314 or 4315. If unavailable, contact the following County of Los Angeles departments.

L.A. County Fire/Ambulance/Paramedics

(213) 291-8392

L.A. County Sheriff's Department

(310) 823-7762


Bells


FIRE - FIRE EVACUATIONS - Steady series of short bell with visual flashes of light.
ALL CLEAR - One long bell  
MEDICAL EMERGENCY - Call Campus Sheriff, Dial Ext. 4314 or 4315

  Introduction

 

West LA College is committed to promoting a safe and secure learning and work environment.  We believe that it is incumbent upon all members of our community --- students, faculty, staff, and administrators --- to conduct themselves with civility toward one another at all times.  The college is committed to student success and strives to maintain an intellectual atmosphere that provides for the protection of the health, safety, welfare, and property of all members of the campus community.

 

It is the responsibility of faculty, staff, and students to immediately report any situation that could possibly result in harm to anyone at the college.  Any member of the campus community may become aware of a troubling person or situation that is causing serious anxiety, stress, or fear and, if so, this information should be forwarded to the Sheriff’s Department.  In cases where a person may pose an immediate risk of violence to self or others, the Sheriff’s Department should be contacted at 310-287-4314.

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  Guidelines for Faculty and Staff

 

The policies of the Los Angeles Community College District prohibit disruption and obstruction of college functions and activities, verbal threats, and behavior endangering the health or safety of any individual.

Disruptive behavior disturbs, interferes with or prevents normal work functions or activities of the college. Examples include yelling, using profanity, waving arms or fists, verbally abusing others, and refusing reasonable requests for identification.

Threatening behavior includes physical actions short of actual contact/injury (e.g., moving closer aggressively), general oral or written threats to people or property, ("You'd better watch your back" or I’ll get you") as well as implicit threats ("You'll be sorry" or "This isn't over").

Violent behavior includes any physical assault, with or without weapons; behavior that a reasonable person would interpret as being potentially violent (e.g., throwing things, pounding on a desk or door, or destroying property), or specific threats to inflict physical harm (e.g., a threat to shoot a named individual).

 

What are the Warning Signs?

  Below is a list of signs and attitudes that may be indicators of disruptive, threatening, or violent behavior. If you observe a pattern or change in behavior and attitude that causes you concern, please notify your supervisor, department chair, or DSPS office
  • Challenging or resisting authority.
  • Becoming unusually upset over recent event(s) (work or personal crisis).
  • Withdrawing from normal activities, family, friends, and co-workers.
  • Making a major change in lifestyle, demeanor, or appearance.
  • Exhibiting signs of substance abuse.
  • Blaming others for problems in life or work; being suspicious, holding grudges.
  • Expressing feelings of being morally superior, self-righteous.
  • Feeling entitled to special rights; rules don't apply to her/him.
  • Exhibiting a recent fascination with weapons.
  • Having a known history of violence

What Behaviors Should I Report Immediately?

  The following behaviors should be immediately reported to your supervisor, department chair, DSPS office and/or the college sheriff’s department.
  • Engaging in persistent, obsessive attention to others and/or stalking.
  • Intimidating, verbally abusing, harassing or mistreating others.
  • Making threatening references to other incidents of violence.
  • Making threats to harm self, others, or property.
  • Detailing specific proposed act(s) of disruption or violence,
  • Expressing strong feelings of wanting or needing to get revenge, or being wronged, humiliated, or degraded.

What Should I do if Confronted by Disruptive, Threatening or Violent Behavior?

 
  • Use a calm, non-confrontational approach to defuse the situation. Indicate your desire to listen and understand the problem. Allow the individual to describe the problem.
  • Do not take the behavior personally. Usually, the behavior has little to do with you, but you are used as a target in the situation.
  • Set limits to indicate the behavior needed to deal with the issue. "Please lower your voice." "Please stop shouting (or using profanity) or I'll have to ask you to leave."
  • Ask questions. Respectful concern and interest may demonstrate that aggression is not necessary.
  • Consider offering an apology. Even if you've done nothing wrong, an apology may calm the individual and encourage cooperation. "I'm sorry that happened. What can we do now to solve the problem?"
  • Summarize what you hear the individual saying. Make sure you are communicating clearly. In crisis, a person feels humiliated and wants respect and attention. Your summary of the individual's concerns reflects your attention. Focus on areas of agreement to help resolve the concern.

What Should I do if I Feel Threatened or in Danger?

 
  • Find a way to excuse yourself, leave the room/area and get help. "You've raised some tough questions. I'll consult with my supervisor/department chair to see what we can do."
  • Do not mention discipline or calling the sheriff’s office if you fear an angry or violent response.
  • Signal for assistance. The individual may be antagonized if you call for assistance, so use a prearranged "distress" signal with a co-worker to check on you to determine how you are. If you need help, the co-worker should alert your supervisor and/or the college sheriff’s office.
  • Do not isolate yourself with an individual you believe may be dangerous. Maintain a safe distance, do not turn your back, and stay seated if possible. Leave the door open or open a closed door, and sit near the door. Be sure a co-worker is near to help if needed.
  • NEVER try to remove an individual from the area. Even a gentle push or grabbing an arm may be interpreted as an assault by an agitated individual who may respond with violence towards you.

How do I Report Threats or Acts of violence?

 

Report all acts or threats of violence first to the WLAC Sheriff's Office (310) 287-4314, then to your supervisor/department chair, and the DSPS office. In addition, if you are reporting a student, a Faculty Disciplinary Form should be submitted to the supervisor/department chair and the college disciplinarian (ext. 4423).  

Please include when possible:
WHO - Name, description, address, phone number, faculty or staff member, student, or visitor.
WHAT - The circumstances and sequence of events leading up to the incident.
WHEN - Time of day.
WHERE - Location of the incident.
HOW - Describe how the offense or violation of conduct was committed.
WHY – Why do you believe this incident occurred?

 

What are Some Preventive Actions we can take in our Department?

 
  • Developing a secret code word within your department for calling the Sheriff’s office.
  • Discussing campus safety issues with co-workers.
  • Reporting promptly and accurately all threats or acts of violence.
  • Arranging furniture to prevent entrapment.
  • Attend training sessions offered by the college.
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  Dealing with Emotionally Disturbed Students

 

This guidance is designed to help identify, and respond appropriately to, students with mental health difficulties to ensure that support and treatment is received as early as possible.

 

What is mental illness?

 

Mental illness takes many different forms and varies greatly in severity, from short-term depression or anxiety triggered by some personal setback, to self-harm, to long term psychiatric illness. Students suffer the same types of problems as the rest of the population, although research suggests they are more prone to anxiety and depression than similar age groups in the general population. Some students arrive at university with a pre-existing condition but will not necessarily have fully recognized or disclosed their difficulties. There is an increasing amount of information available on student mental health.

 

The goal is not to define the nature of different types of mental illness; however, to be able to recognize a problem, to know what options are available for help, and to recognize when to refer to an appropriate professional.

 

Possible signs for mental health

  Mental illness can reveal itself indirectly, through changes in a student's work, behavior or appearance. The possible warning signs to be aware include:
  • a sudden deterioration in academic performance or motivation
  • persistent lateness for, or absence from
  • an obsessional attitude to work and/or an unrealistic preoccupation with failure
  • withdrawal from social, cultural or sporting activities once considered important
  • mood swings and irritability
  • difficulty in sleeping
  • misuse of alcohol or drugs
  • changes in appearance: unkept, weight change, decline in personal hygiene.

What Should I do if you are worried about a student

 

It is important to let the student know that you are concerned. You might wish to gather more information first by talking discreetly to a colleague to see if your concern is shared, but you should not come to any conclusions until you have heard what the student has to say. Express your concerns in private to the student and, most importantly of all, be prepared to listen. Any information provided by the student must be treated as confidential unless the student gives explicit consent for it to be shared with others. It can be extremely time-consuming and stressful helping a distressed student.

  • Think carefully beforehand about what you can and cannot do.
  • Ask yourself whether you have the time and skills to support them.
  • Consider whether there might be a conflict with any of your other responsibilities e.g. of a disciplinary nature. It may be necessary for a different person to approach the student.
  • Explain clearly to the student the limits of your role.
  • Be prepared to take a firm line about the extent of your involvement

You may find that all the student needs is a sympathetic ear or some extra help with work. However, if you have any suspicion at all that the problem goes deeper than this, or if there is no improvement in the student, despite your intervention, encourage them to seek help from the Student Health Center or the Counseling Department.  It is important that you should err on the side of caution and not get drawn into situations which you may not be able to manage and which may cause you a great deal of stress. If in doubt always refer the student to Student Services.

 

What should you do if the student refuses help?

 

If the student is not ready to talk about their problem or to admit that they have one, it could be counter-productive to try to force the issue, particularly if they become agitated or defensive. It might be better to back off but to extend an open invitation to come back and talk to you in the future. At the same time suggest again that they might like to consider consulting the Student Health Center or a counselor, as it is often easier to talk about personal problems to a complete stranger than someone the student knows and sees regularly.

 

The student might admit that they have a problem but be reluctant to seek professional help. This could be for a number of reasons. They might feel that their problem is not serious enough; that they should be able to cope on their own; that they would have to reveal information about themselves or their families which they would prefer to keep private; or they might have concerns about confidentiality. These feelings reflect widely held misconceptions about how mental health problems are treated as well as concerns about the stigma that still attaches to mental illness. Alternatively, the student might have more mundane concerns, for example, about how to access counseling or how long they would have to wait for an appointment.

 

You can help the student to overcome their fears about seeking professional help. You could:

  • reassure them that anything said to a doctor, nurse, chaplain or counselor will remain confidential;
  • inform them that the waiting time for counseling appointment is usually less than 10 days;
  • point out the consequences of not seeking help; that the problem will not go away by itself and that academic performance could continue to suffer;
  • refer them to the information available on the web.

 

If you remain anxious about a student or have doubts about whether you have given the correct advice you can discuss your concerns with the Health Center Therapist or a member of the Counseling Department.

 

What should you do if you think the problem might be urgent?

 

There are varying levels of risk, and how you respond will depend on your personal judgment as to the seriousness and urgency of the situation. The safety of the student and of those around them has to be the prime consideration, and it is important to err on the side of caution.

 

If a student threatens to harm themselves or others, and their behavior suggests they will carry this out, you should call the Student Health Center or the Sheriffs Office. If there is a risk of physical harm, it is acceptable to breach confidentiality.

 

Not all situations will be so clear-cut. A student may talk about wanting to be dead without showing any obvious signs of suicidal intent. A student may be out of touch with reality and not functioning normally but not necessarily threatening any physical harm to themselves or others. One of the difficulties of managing such a situation is the fear that it could develop into an emergency at any moment. If in doubt it is always better to seek the advice of a professional who will be more expert in risk assessment. Whatever the circumstances, whether obvious emergency or something less clear, it is important to listen carefully to the student, to take their feelings seriously, to show concern, and to remain calm?

 

Health Center - (PDF flyer)

  The WLAC Student Health & Wellness Center is committed to providing a safe and healthy environment for all students attending the college. The Center provides free and low cost health care services to all currently enrolled WLAC students.  It is primarily supported by the Student Health Fee. Students must show a WLAC photo ID and proof of enrollment to receive services.

All medical and mental health services are provided by a Medical Provider or a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist.  An on-call physician is available for medical consults.

General Services
  • On-Site Certified Nurse Practitioner able to diagnosis, treat, and dispense prescription medication
  • Physical Exams
  • Non-Urgent Medical Care
  • Gynecological Services (i.e. pap smears)*
  • First Aid for Minor Burns, Cuts, Sprains, and Sores
  • Family Planning & Contraception
  • Pregnancy Test and Condoms*
  • Over-the-Counter Medications
  • Blood Pressure and Diabetic Monitoring
  • Basic Hearing / Vision Exams
  • TB Screenings & Immunizations
  • Diagnosis & Treatment of Short-term Illnesses (Flu, Cold, Sore Throats)
  • Referrals to Off-Campus Physicians,
  • Medical Centers, Clinics and Telephone Hotlines
  • Health Information, Workshops & Annual Health Fair

Mental Health Services
To schedule an appointment, call (310) 287-4478.
  • Depression
  • Anxiety (Test, Social, etc.)
  • Relationship Problems / Couple Therapy
  • Stress Management
  • Family Conflicts
  • Substance Abuse
  • Suicidal Thoughts
  • Domestic Violence
  • Grief
  • Eating Disorders
  • Alternative Lifestyles
  • Parenting
  • Time Management
  • Referrals to Community Resources
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  LACCD Student Code of Conduct

 

STUDENT BEHAVIOR AND COLLEGE DISCIPLINE INSTRUCTOR GUIDELINE
To achieve the college’s mission of educating students, we must first create a positive learning environment. It is our responsibility to insure that our students know what is expected of them, and, equally our responsibility, to protect them and ourselves from behaviors that disrupt the integrity of that environment.

CAMPUS DISCIPLINARY PROCEDURES
The Los Angeles Community College District faculty, staff and administration are dedicated to maintaining an optimal learning environment; the standards of behavior as outlined in Board Rule 9803 are essential to the maintenance of a quality college environment. These standards apply to all students on campus or other college property or while attending any college-sponsored classes, activities or events. Violation of such laws, policies, rules and regulations or behavior adversely affecting suitability as a student, will lead to disciplinary action.

Select forms of disciplinary action appropriate to the misconduct, as defined by the violation of the Standards of Student Conduct, Board Rule 9803, may be taken by an instructor. More severe disciplinary action must be instituted by the Vice President of Student Services or College Disciplinarian.

Notifying the Sheriffs Office. When a violation of the Standards of Student Conduct occurs which threatens the lives, property or maintenance of order, Sheriffs Office should be notified immediately. Campus law enforcement will issue an incident report and will send a copy to the Vice President of Student Services or designee for appropriate action.

The following types of disciplinary action may be taken by an instructor:
Warning
A verbal or written notice, given to the student by an instructor, Vice President of Student Services or designee or any college administrator or manager, that continuation or repetition of the specified conduct may be cause for further disciplinary action. The Vice President of Student Services or designee shall place documentation of this warning in the student file. (Note: documentation of student’s misconduct must be sent to the Vice President of Student Services or College Disciplinarian for this to occur.)

 

Reprimand
A written reprimand for violation of specified regulations, prepared by an instructor, Vice President of Student Services or designee or any college administrator or manager. The reprimand will be sent to the student by the Vice President of Student Services or designee, noting that continued violations may result in further disciplinary action. The Vice President of Student Services or designee shall place a copy of this reprimand in the student file.

Removal By Instructor
An instructor may remove (suspend) a student from his or her class for the day of the incident and the next class meeting. During this period of removal, the student shall not return to the class from which he or she was removed without the concurrence of the instructor of the class.

  • If a student is suspended for one class meeting, no additional formal disciplinary action is necessary; however, the faculty member is encouraged to notify the Vice President of Student Services or designee of this action.
  • If a student is suspended from class for the day of the incident and the next class meeting, the instructor shall send a written report of the action to the Vice President of Student Services or designee.
  • If the student who is being suspended for two class meetings is a minor, the Vice President of Student Services or designee shall notify the parent or guardian of the student involved in the incident, and shall hold a conference regarding the suspension as soon as possible with the student, his or her parent or guardian and if necessary the faculty member. (EC 76032)
  • The instructor may recommend to the appropriate instructional administrator or the Vice President of Academic Affairs that the student be suspended for longer than two class meetings. If the instructor, student and appropriate administrator cannot resolve the matter, the matter shall be referred to the Vice President of Student Services or designee who shall consider further disciplinary action.
  • During the period following the initial suspension from class for the day of the incident and the following class meeting, the student shall be allowed to return to the class until due process and the disciplinary procedures are completed, unless the student is further suspended pursuant to Section 4 below. Suspension by the instructor shall be considered an excused absence.


The following forms of discipline actions require action by college administration:

Immediate Suspension - The Vice President of Student Services or designee, or any other college administrator, may immediately suspend a student from all colleges in the District and District office, acting under an emergency to protect lives or property and/or to ensure the maintenance of order.

Suspensions up to 10 days and for more than 10 days -The Vice President of Student Services or designee may:

  • Suspend a student from one or more classes, activities, services, programs, or specific locations on campus for a period of up to ten days with a right to a hearing before the Vice President of Student Services or designee; or
  • Suspend a student subject to a right to a hearing before a Hearing Committee as provided under Board Rule 91101.14 for:
    • One or more classes, activities, services, programs, or specific locations for the remainder of the term; or
    • One or more classes, activities, services, programs, or specific locations of the college or District for up to two terms or one academic year.

When an incident occurs:

Please use the Faculty Disciplinary Form to document an incident and your action, and to notify your chair, as well as to request further disciplinary action from the College Disciplinarian, Dr. Shalamon Duke or Vice President Betsy Regalado. The form has lines for the student’s signature. That is optional, and often is difficult or awkward to obtain. It is a means to record that the student was notified and/or warned. The lower portion of that form is to be given to the student if at all possible, signed by him/her or not.

NOTE: It is important to remember that a faculty member may NOT Exclude/drop a student from class for violating the Student Code of Conduct.

Services Forms
Student Discipline

 

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Clery Act

 

This act is named in memory of a university student, Jeanne Clery, who was raped and murdered in 1986. It was formerly known as the Crime Awareness and Campus Security Act of 1990. All colleges and universities that receive federal funding are required by this act to disclose information about the crime on campus and crime in the immediate vicinity of the campus. Annual reports which contain three years of crime statistics, campus security policies, statements of victims’ rights, and sexual assault policies must be made available under this act. In addition, timely warnings of criminal threats to the entire campus population must be made available.

 

Complete Jeanne Clery Disclosure information can be found at the West LA College Sheriff’s Station located in Lot #5. You can check selected crime statistics for West LA College at the following link: www.ope.ed.gov/security/Search.asp.

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Quick Facts to Assist the Distressed Student

 

Unusual classroom behavior should not be ignored. The purpose of this is to provide you with some general points of intervention for students who exhibit strange and inappropriate behavior, and to assist you in identifying and diffusing improper conduct in the classroom or other academic setting.

In the college community, about 10 percent of the students may be distressed by depression, acute anxiety, drug or alcohol abuse or more serious conditions. Students may turn to you because of your position and the respect they hold for you.

As faculty or staff member, you often handle these difficult situations because you are in an excellent position to spot the emotionally troubled student. This may be a result of your setting, e.g. receptionist, department secretary, faculty or staff member, or administrator. A student’s unusual behavior, especially if it is inconsistent with your experience of him/her could well constitute an inarticulate attempt to draw attention to his/her plight, “a cry for help.” Unusual signs of distress may include one or more of the following:

  • Nervousness
  • Increased irritability
  • Undue aggressive or abrasive behavior
  • A marked change in personal appearance/hygiene
  • Withdrawal, fearfulness
  • Bizarre, alarming, or dangerous behaviors
  • Substance Abuse


Some indications might include:

  • Slurred speech
  • Hyperactivity
  • Loss of regular physical condition
  • Lethargy
  • Paranoia
  • Hallucinations


The following is a list of guidelines for responding to signs of distress:

  1. Don’t overreact and take the unusual behavior personally. Use your voice and manner to calm the person down, giving simple direct instructions.
  2. Ask the student to meet with you after class to arrange an appointment to find out what is upsetting him/her.
  3. Do not make threats, give ultimatums or shout at the person in distress.
  4. Buy time- let the situation cool down. Don’t rush or crowd the distressed person.
  5. If the student is still in distress, refer the student to the Student Health Center in A-9.
  6. If a student is a danger to himself or others, establish an internal code within your department to discreetly call the campus police (4314) to respond.
  7. Never close the door. If there is a fear that you could be injured or if the student is unstable, suggest that he/she speak quietly. If the issue merits privacy, ask an office mate to listen in or keep an eye on you.


The purpose of this section is to highlight a few communications skills that may be helpful in your interactions with students. Openly acknowledge to the student that you are aware of his/her distress and that you are willing to help. The student can be informed that such behavior is distracting and inappropriate.

Since people in crisis can become overly sensitive to offers of help which may result in irrational or disruptive behavior, you may want to pause and appraise the situation. If in danger, leave the setting and seek emergency assistance, i.e. call ext. 4314.

  • I.    Here are some suggestions for you:
    • If you are in the classroom setting, acknowledge the student’s distress and suggest, “If you would like to talk after class, I would be glad to listen.”
    • If you are in another campus setting, remove the student to a less distracting environment if appropriate.
  • II.    Identify the problem.
    • Lead the student into a discussion with short phrase beginning with “I see,” “I understand.” Positive, nonverbal communications, such as eye contact, head nods and attentiveness may help diffuse the student’s disruptive behavior.
    • After the student’s problem has been identified, you may be able to help the student resolve the problem. If not, refer the student to the Student Health Center at A-9. If the situation is dangerous, call the Sheriffs at 4314.

 

Remember, it is important to recognize your own limitations. If the student’s distress and behavior is beyond your abilities to solve alone, consider requesting help from a colleague or call the Office of Student Services at 4333 for additional support.

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