WHITTIER - As newscasts echoed with reports of the Connecticut school mass shooting Friday, a flashback of memories from a campus shooting returned for one local school board member.
Norwalk-La Mirada Unified School District Board Member Darryl Adams remembers the Oct. 22, 1997 incident when an ex-boyfriend of a John Glenn High School student, shot her and then himself. They both died.
"A shooting like the one in Connecticut just brings up the pain and suffering our campus experienced," Adams said.
As students arrived for school, Khoa Truc "Robert" Dang, intercepted his former girlfriend, Catherine Tran near a row of lockers.
The murder-suicide hit Adams particularly hard since Dang had been a student of his at John Glenn a few years earlier.
"It was very numbing," he said.
"We were at a loss and couldn't understand what happened," Adams added. "We had a 1,000 questions and no answers."
Still, he believes schools are safe.
"We don't need metal detectors (on campuses)," he said.
"Until we can find something to detect what's in a person's mind, this type of situation won't end," Adams said.
In the wake of Friday's shooting, some area elementary and unified school districts are quickly increasing safety at their campuses.
"We are definitely beefing up security," said Montebello Unified School District Police Department Chief Linh Dinh. "We are aware that there may be copy cats out there.
He said patrols by the department, which has 40 sworn officers, were increased at all the schools in MUSD's six cities.
They include 18 elementary schools.
"All schools have trained readiness and emergency staff members," Dinh said.
He encouraged parents to talk to their kids about personal safety.
There are two trains of thoughts on the matter, Dinh said.
One, is to barricade and hide, and the other, he said, is to run and avoid the apparent danger.
The El Rancho Unified School District Police Department is working in conjunction with the Pico Rivera sheriff's department to provide added security in the wake of the shooting, officials said.
"We have security measures in place to keep our students safe," East Whittier City School District co-Superintendent Dorka Duron said.
Each campus, she said, is gated and locked during school hours, with only one entry point, which is the main office.
"Any unscheduled visitors are not allowed inside the classrooms," Duron explained.
A risk management agent meets with the district on a regular basis to go over security and emergency issues.
"We have had a few calls at a couple of our schools from parents regarding the shooting," Duron said.
Officials at Norwalk-La Mirada said it was "business as usual" Friday.
"We've had a few calls from parents, but nothing more than that," Superintendent Ruth Perez said. "We have security at all our campuses, and plans in place in case of an emergency."
She sent out a district-wide message to teachers and administrators to not turn on TVs in any classrooms, to avoid news coverage of the shootings.
On Monday, a letter will be sent home detailing how parents may help their children cope with tragedy, Perez said.
"It will help them allow their kids to talk about it," she explained.
The district's mental health director is also preparing a list of tips for teachers and administrators on how to deal with a national tragedy.