By Richard Freedman
Sonia McClellin was warned. Surviving the gauntlet called legislation wouldn’t be a cakewalk. And, cynics said, she could end up with pie in her face.
No matter. The Fairfield woman persevered, carrying the indelible memory of her sister’s death at the hands of a boyfriend everywhere she talked, including the State Capitol.
Thanks to McClellin’s crusade and Assemblyman Jim Frazier’s AB 643 — instruction on how to recognize early warning signs of adolescent relationship abuse and intimate partner violence — is law, implemented into already-mandated health instruction for ninth graders starting this next school year.
By George Johnston
Facing unexcused absence as punishment, approximately 400 Benicia High School students nevertheless joined thousands of peers across the country to walk out of school as a part of the National School Walkout.
The National School Walkout was a nationwide protest held today to rally against gun violence and honor those who lost their lives in shootings. The event, coinciding with the 19th anniversary of the Columbine High School Massacre, was one of several national demonstrations held in the wake of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting on Feb. 14, and Benicia High students have actively participated throughout. On Feb. 24, students marched from Benicia High to City Park where they held a candlelight vigil. On March 14, they held a brief rally on campus in lieu of the the National School Walkout held that day. On March 24, students organized a march down First Street and rally at City Park which had several local officials speak. Today’s walkout called for students across America to leave school and join with their fellow youth in demonstrating a call to gun violence.
Source: Hundreds of students leave Benicia High for National School Walkout
By Susan Hiland
The city’s youth spoke out against being afraid to go to school, called out the government for not doing enough to protect them from gun violence and demanded change as they marched Saturday down First Street – one of more than 800 March for Our Lives rallies that took place across the country.
Benicia High School students organized the event but they were not alone in their anger with the gun violence; several hundred adults marched alongside them.
“We had a fire drill the other day at school,” said Shannon Sweeney, 17, a student at Benicia High. “I couldn’t help thinking, ‘Is this it? Is there a shooter on campus?’
”Sweeney was one of the organizers who helped bring about the march. She said her goal was to help everyone feel safe, every day, at school and in their community.
Source: Benicia youth lead protest for peace
By Susan Hiland
The March for Our Lives event was about the youth Saturday and hundreds of adults were there to support them.
More than 800 marches were held across the country and some might say it was a continuation of the student walkouts last week in protest of the 17 people killed Feb. 14 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
Isabel Reyes of Vallejo still grieves for her son, Eric Reyes, who died in February 2016 because of gun violence. She formed the Eric Reyes Foundation in his memory and helped sponsor the march.
“Youth are killing youth,” she said. “We have a lot of gun violence in the community.”
Source: Vallejo students, adults take stand against gun violence
By George Johnston
Unlike at the thousands of schools across the country, zero students walked out of Benicia High School during the National School Walkout. Instead, students held a rally in the quad during Access Period to give speeches on preventing future gun violence and improving their school.
Senior Carson Rendell began the rally with a moment of silence for the victims of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland Fla. on Feb. 14 He then delivered the first speech of day, focusing on the many victims of school shootings and how easily he believed gun violence could be prevented with stricter gun control laws like stronger background checks and bans on assault weapons.
“When will we realize this is a problem?” Rendell asked. “When will we take a step back and look at the fact that in this country there are 300 million people here, and there are over 300 million people with guns? That in states like Florida, 18-year-olds do not have to go through a background check to buy an assault rifle and and on average 96 people are killed each day by guns?”
Source: Benicia High students rally on campus for gun control
By Rachel Raskin-Zrihen
“18th Century laws won’t protect 21st Century Americans!”
That was just one of several points made by students who took the small stage in the center of Vallejo’s Jesse Bethel High School on Wednesday, joining a national walkout, organized one month after a gunman took the lives 17 students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla.
School administrators estimated that up to 1,200 of the school’s 1,550 students filed out of their classrooms at 10 a.m. for the event, planned to last 17 minutes — one for each of those killed at Parkland — as suggested by the surviving Parkland students. They joined thousands of students nationwide who walked out of class to protest gun violence and urge lawmakers to strengthen gun control laws.
Source: Area students join thousands nationwide in walkout for gun control
By Kimberly K. Fu
As the clock struck 10 a.m. Wednesday, students all over the country, including in Vacaville, poured out of their classrooms and gathered for the National School Walkout at a designated area in memoriam of the 17 classmates and faculty killed in the recent Parkland school massacre.
For 17 minutes — one for each victim felled by a gunman’s bullets — they remained outdoors, sharing a moment of silence for those lost and pondering their role in how to make the world a better place.
At Will C. Wood High School, silence was golden.
Source: Vacaville students take a stand for school safety, remember fallen Parkland students
By Richard Bammer
Several Solano County education leaders on Thursday told their staffs and school district families that students may very well join in the nationwide walkout from classes Wednesday morning, to be prepared for the mass action and what to expect at 10 a.m., when the walkout, prompted by the Feb. 14 mass shooting at a Parkland, Fla., school, begins.
The notifications came in the ongoing wake of the killing of 14 students and three educators at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High, prompting a nationwide debate about gun violence, school safety, easy access to military-style semi-automatic rifles and ammunition, mental illness, and the NRA’s influence on American cultural and political life, among other things.
Source: District supes, school principals brace for nationwide student walkout Wednesday
By Amy Maginnis-Honey
ALICE was the topic of discussion for students, staff and faculty Wednesday at Solano Community College.
The program’s name is an acronym for Alert, Lockdown, Information, Counter and Evacuate. The five steps were developed by Greg Crane, a law enforcement veteran with a desire to keep his wife’s school safe after the events of Columbine.
Lisa Crane, his wife, spent more than 30 years in education before retiring.
Source: Solano College students, staff hear tips on surviving active-shooter situation
School shootings are devastating for victims, survivors, and communities and increase fear for students, parents, and educators throughout the nation. Our hearts go out to the victims and their families after the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida on February 14, 2018, as well as all victims of school shootings.
Some students may wish to show solidarity with the Florida victims by planning and taking part in walkouts on March 14, 2018. I applaud these students’ empathy and civic engagement and support the right of all students to exercise their First Amendment rights.
I encourage administrators to work with students to create opportunities for all students to safely and respectfully express their views on this tragic event. This can be an extension of the Safe Havens discussions occurring in many districts, which involve making our schools safe for all students and parents while honoring student voices.
Administrators working with students, teachers, and parents can set up forums, assemblies, or small group activities. Teachers can guide students through age-appropriate discussions on key topics in classes such as American Government, history, civics, and language arts.
Source: A Guide for Possible Student Walkouts – Letters (CA Dept of Education)
By Richard Bammer
Concern more than fear colored parent voices Tuesday night in Vacaville Unified’s main offices, where district leaders sponsored an emergency response training session for those with children in city public schools.
For the better part of 90 minutes, Jennifer Leonard, the district’s public information officer, led the presentation that focused on Standard Reunification Method protocols and the organization, planning and management of an Emergency Operations Center.
The training came nearly two weeks after a mass shooting in a Parkland, Fla., high school, where 14 students and three adults were killed by a 19-year-old former student who wielded an AR-15, a semi-automatic rifle.
Source: Training for emergency response teaches Vacaville parents protocols
By Richard Bammer
Like other eastern Solano County school district superintendents, Pamela Conklin, who leads Travis Unified, has issued a letter to parents in the wake of the Feb. 14 school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High in Parkland, Fla., where a 19-year-old former student killed 17 people.
The two-page letter, posted Friday on the district’s website, www.travisusd.org, also comes as an after-Parkland surge of gun threats, tips and false alarms aimed at schools flooded school districts and police department nationwide, including a Feb. 16 incident at Dixon High, where a student casually, perhaps jokingly, mentioned shooting up the school’s annual Sweetheart Rally in late February. The student was suspended for five days.
In the first sentence, Conklin’s “Dear Parents and Community Members” letter alluded to the Florida mass shooting and parents’ concerns. And the second was an effort to reassure parents by letting them know about some measures school leaders take to keep the districts’ 5,500 students — including those at two Vacaville elementaries and at two elementaries on Travis Air Force Base — safe.
Source: Travis Unified School District supe issues safety letter to parents
By Cory Turner
For the more than 3,000 students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Wednesday’s mass shooting was terrifying and life-changing. But what of the tens of millions of other children, in schools across the country, who have since heard about what happened and now struggle with their own feelings of fear, confusion and uncertainty?
For their parents and teachers, we’ve put together a quick primer with help from the National Association of School Psychologists and Melissa Reeves, a former NASP president and co-author of its PREPaRE School Crisis Prevention and Intervention curriculum.
First, pay attention. Not just to what kids say, but what they do.
“Watch for clues that [children] may want to talk, such as hovering around while you do the dishes or yard work,” NASP recommends. “Some children prefer writing, playing music, or doing an art project as an outlet.”
Source: How To Talk With Kids About Terrible Things | MindShift | KQED News
By Richard Bammer
Human trafficking prevention, the possible funding of teacher effectiveness programs at two charter schools, and a report about Cooper Elementary were on the agenda when Vacaville Unified leaders met Thursday night in Vacaville.
But what was on many people’s minds, including the trustees, district staff and the general public during the governing board meeting were the Feb. 14 murders of 17 students and staff members by a deeply troubled former student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High in Parkland, Fla., the nearly 20th U.S. school shooting since Jan. 1.
In her routine remarks at the meeting’s outset, Superintendent Jane Shamieh said “student safety and security” are “foremost” in the minds of district educators at all times.
Source: Vacaville Unified School District leaders air thoughts, feelings about Florida school shooting
By The Associated Press
A school secretary at a tiny elementary school rushed out to shoo children inside. A custodian swooped in, yelling “get into the classrooms,” at kids in the play yard.
Inside Rancho Tehama Elementary School, children and some parents huddled under desks as bullets riddled the tan and teal portable classrooms.
“I didn’t know what was happening and this boy was like, ‘Get down, get down!’ He did not want some people to get hurt,” 6-year-old Aileen Favela recalled Wednesday.
Source: Quick-Thinking School Staff Saved Children at California School – Education Week
By Michael Morris
Vacaville boxing product Ivan Vergara, 20, has created a name for himself by making an impact in the face of his opposition.
But as of late, the greatest impact Vergara has made is in the lives of Markham Elementary student Nate Latta, 9, and his mother Carrie.
“If you have the ability to help someone, you should help them,” Vergara said. “It’s not something you think about, it’s just something you do.”
When the school year first started, the Vacaville mother and son found themselves at a fork in the road. With a child on the way and Nate no longer able to take boxing lessons at the Georgie Duke Center, her son was barreling down a path set for juvenile hall, or worse. His grades were at an all-time low, he consistently disrespected his mother, and he was caught bringing a knife to school.
Source: Vacaville boxer, Ivan Vergara, helps straighten path of Markham student
By Ryan McCarthy
The Public Safety Academy that opened in 2012 has a higher attendance rate than other schools in the Fairfield-Suisun School District, few suspensions and “is doing very well,” says a self study for its accreditation.
School district trustees take up the self study at their meeting Thursday.
Former Fairfield Police Chief Walt Tibbet, former Suisun City Police Chief Ed Dadisho and retired school district Superintendent Jacki Cottingim-Dias originally conceived the public safety academy program, the report states.
The academy’s 97.3 percent attendance rate from August to December 2016 is higher than rates for elementary, middle and high schools in the district, according to the report.
Source: Report: High attendance rate, few suspensions at Public Safety Academy
By Evie Blad
Among the findings from the most recent federal Civil Rights Data Collection that got the most attention: 1.6 million students attend public schools that have an on-site law enforcement officer but no school counselor.
That’s a relatively small share of the nation’s students, but civil rights groups—many of which have pushed for a scaling back or removal of police from schools—say it points to poor spending priorities, particularly those that enroll large shares of students of color.
A new White House blog post examines an analysis by the Council of Economic Advisers and takes a closer look at the figure, finding that black and Hispanic students are more likely to be enrolled in schools that spend money on law enforcement but not counselors, who are often crucial to helping students, particularly low-income students, develop social-emotional skills, secure financial aid, and gain access to higher education. Hispanic students are more likely than their black and white peers to be enrolled in schools with neither an officer nor a counselor, and white students are the most likely to attend schools with counselors but not police, the analysis finds.
Source: Schools With Police But No School Counselors: A Closer Look – Rules for Engagement – Education Week
By John Glidden
The momentum behind a proposed City-Schools Taskforce formed to discuss community issues impacting schools, and school issues impacting the community appears to have stalled.
The idea behind the taskforce gained traction after several violent incidents occurred at Vallejo’s schools, including the May 2015 shooting death of Jesse Bethel High School student Max Rusk.
However, the 10-person committee still has several vacancies, and the group has yet to meet.
The city council appointed Mayor Osby Davis, and Vice Mayor Rozzana Verder-Aliga to serve, while the school board tapped trustees Raymond Mommsen and Ward “Ace” Stewart to represent the board on the taskforce.
Source: Proposed Vallejo city-school taskforce stalls
By Dr. Richard Curwin
Recently I have been involved in several discussions about whether children are actually facing an unprecedented increase in exposure to violence or just the amped-up media of a world that has always been violent. I believe the latter. From ancient times to the present, there has been an endless parade of war, crime, and disaster. There are been times of burning witches, public hangings, and torture. In the 20th century, children faced two World Wars, gang wars during Prohibition (highlighted by constant machine gun fire), and a Great Depression. When I was a child, I lived under the threat of nuclear war. I still remember air raid drills, practicing duck and cover when we hid under our desks with our hand over our heads to protect us from nuclear bombs.
via Helping Your Students Cope With a Violent World | Edutopia.