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.
By John Glidden
Student safety, an empty board seat, and approving the application for a new charter school were some of items which defined the Vallejo City Unified School District in 2015.
The end of the 2014-15 school year turned violent when Jesse Bethel High School student Kenneth Maxwell “Max” Rusk, 17, was killed in May on a trail which runs along the side of the high school.
Zachery Kroll, 19, of Vallejo, and Elisha White, Jr., 16, of Suisun City, have been charged with murder for the slaying of Rusk.
After Rusk’s death, students several students protested outside the school, calling for better safety measures throughout the entire district, while parents repeatedly spoke to the Vallejo school board, asking the trustees to address school safety.
via Local schools face myriad of challenges in 2015.
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson issued the following statement today due to a threat of violence that closed all K-12 public schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District:
“I support the actions taken by the Los Angeles Unified School district and law enforcement officials to keep students safe. Creating and maintaining a safe environment for students, teachers, parents, administrators, and classified employees is our top priority.
“I urge schools and districts to check their school safety plans to make sure they are up to date. The California Department of Education stands ready to assist school districts in enhancing and improving their safety plans. We have a variety of available resources for districts, including on our Web site.”
via LAUSD School Closures – Year 2015 (CA Dept of Education).
By Amy Maginnis-Honey
More than 60 Green Valley Middle School seventh- and eighth-graders rose to the challenge Monday.
The challenges of Challenge Day involved hugs, some patty cake playing and the opportunity to stand before the group and compliment someone.
The goal of the all-school-day session was to break down barriers and encourage the students to be the change they want to see.
Participants were nominated by their teachers. Crowd-source funding raised enough for T-shirts and lunch for the participants.
via Middle school students up for challenges of Challenge Day.
By Dianne de Guzman
Wednesday marks the first day of the 2015-2016 school year for students of the Vallejo City Unified School District, with the issue of school violence returning after a summer of discussion and debate.
Last week’s back-to-school BBQ and a listening session set the stage for the start of the year. Changes are on the horizon, along with a continuation of already-implemented academic programs for students.
The most notable change on the horizon is the addition of a second school resource officer to the school district. Officer Craig Long with the Vallejo Police Department has been the district’s school resource officer since February, and school and police officials have recently made the move to hire another officer. VCUSD Superintendent Dr. Ramona Bishop and Police Chief Andrew Bidou said they’ve been in talks to do this since before the listening session, where parents voiced their concerns about school safety. Bidou said a new officer is expected in the next few months.
via Vallejo schools to continue programs, add SRO.
By John Glidden
Around 30 people stood up during the public comment session of the Vallejo City Council meeting, signalling that they wished to see a joint meeting between the council and the Vallejo school board.
The topic: school safety.
Local resident Nathan Stout asked the collection of parents and residents to show their support for the proposal, which hasn’t gained much traction after Vallejo City Unified School Board of Education Trustee Burky Worel began asking months ago for such meetings.
“To you the city council,” Stout said. “We may look like a few random individuals who are asking for this joint meeting. Really in truth, many are aware about the serious crisis in this school district.”
Stout said that everyone from students, school staff and parents feel threatened by the lack of security at Vallejo’s schools.
via Speakers call for joint meeting between Vallejo school district, city council.
By Dianne de Guzman
The seventh and eighth graders at the Benicia Police Department’s Youth Academy weren’t exactly solving the crime of the century, but they were certainly taking their task very seriously.
Students were told to solve the mystery of who bit into a chocolate bar, based on “dental records” — teeth impressions made from biting into two pieces of styrofoam plates — and what they could decipher from the bite marks.
Sgt. Kenny Hart showed students what to look for when viewing evidence, during a lesson on crime scene investigations. “The victim was bit twice and they were bit harder on the right side,” Hart said to the group, pointing to an area on the plates with a police flashlight. “(Police) can tell how many times a person was bit.”
via Benicia Youth Academy teaches police tactics, life lessons.
By Susan Hiland
A program born out of the Columbine High School killings more than a decade ago brought a message of inclusiveness Wednesday to children and parents in Fairfield.
Rachel’s Challenge is a series of programs and strategies designed to empower children and motivate educators, according to the organization’s website. The purpose of the programs is to equip children and adults to create and sustain safe, caring and supportive learning environments that are essential for academic achievement.
The programs are based on the writings and life of 17-year-old Rachel Scott, who was the first student killed in 1999 at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado.
via Rachel’s Challenge comes to Anna Kyle Daily Republic.
Times-Herald staff report Posted:
Vallejo police are still searching for suspects in two arson cases last month at a local elementary school, including one that destroyed a playground.
The first fire, set at the school’s south side, did minimal damage. However, the second fire at about 11:25 a.m. May 31 completely engulfed a play structure that had been built only a few years ago.
The blaze destroyed the playground, doing about $10,000 to $15,000 in damage, according to a statement issued by police on Sunday.
The department is asking the public for help in solving the case, encouraging people to call the Vallejo Police Department at 800-488-9383 or the Solano Crime Stoppers at 707-644-STOP. Crime Stoppers offers $1,000 reward for tips that lead to an arrest.
via Vallejo police seek clues in burned playground case – Vallejo Times Herald.
By Evie Blad
Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal signed a sweeping gun bill into law this week that will lift many firearms restrictions in bars, churches, and government buildings and under certain conditions when it goes into effect July 1. The new law will also allow a person with written authorization from a public or private school or higher education institution to carry a gun on school property.
State proposals to lift restrictions on concealed carry in schools experienced a surge in popularity as legislatures rushed to shore up school safety plans following the December 2012 shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. An Education Week analysis of more than 450 school safety related bills filed in 2013 legislative sessions found 84 proposals related to arming school employees and 73 proposals related to easing gun restrictions in certain areas, including school grounds.
via Georgia Becomes Latest State to Allow Guns in Schools (With Some Restrictions) – Rules for Engagement – Education Week.
By Tony Burchyns
Vallejo young people were urged Wednesday night to show courage in standing up to violence during a peace forum featuring speeches by high school students, the mayor and a police captain.
“Stop the violence is not just a slogan,” Vallejo Mayor Osby Davis told dozens of students during the second night of Solano Community College’s 9th annual Stop the Violence/Peace Summit.
Davis encouraged the crowd of mostly college students and teachers to speak out against violence and crime in their community by sharing information with law enforcement to make their community safer.
via Speakers: Violence ends when people cooperate – Vallejo Times Herald.
Times-Herald staff Posted:
The 9th annual Peace Summit, a 3-day “Stop the Violence” jamboree, gets underway today at the Solano Community College Fairfield and Vallejo campuses.
Stop the Violence Summit starts at 9:30 a.m. in Building 1400 on the Fairfield campus with a panel discussion on “The Impact of Violence,” followed by a “Peace Vigil” and a “Peace Walk” starting at noon at the Clocktower.
Sherie Labedis, civil rights worker, teacher, and author will share excerpts at 1 p.m. from her book “You Came Here to Die, Didn’t You.” That will be followed by a call to action led by Solano College teacher Karen McCord.
via ‘Stop the Violence’ jamboree starts in Vallejo, Fairfield today – Vallejo Times Herald.
After a high school student posted a video suicide note on YouTube, then killed herself early this week, officials from the 101,000-student Jefferson County Public Schools in Louisville, Ky., temporarily shut down school-based access to YouTube and Twitter, prompting renewed attention to the role of social media in responding to school tragedies.
“The safety and security of our students is our number one priority,” said district spokeswoman Mandy Simpson in a statement. Removing access to the sites, Simpson wrote, “was an effort to ensure that students who are emotionally impacted could get the help they needed as we worked with officials to address the situation through the most appropriate and efficient channels.”
Simpson said that 20 grief counselors were dispatched Tuesday to Louisville’s Male High School, and access to the sites was quickly restored.
via Does Your District’s Crisis-Response Plan Include Social Media? – Rules for Engagement – Education Week.
Times-Herald staff report Posted:
The 9th annual Peace Summit, a 3-day “Stop the Violence” jamboree, takes place starting Tuesday, April 22-24 on the Solano Community College Fairfield and Vallejo campuses.
The events are free and include guest speakers, walks, a documentary and more. Keynote speaker is Lecia Brooks, who leads the Southern Poverty Law Center in Montgomery, Alabama in its outreach efforts to promote social justice issues.
Stop the Violence Summit starts 9:30 a.m. Tuesday in Building 1400 on the Fairfield campus with panel discussion on “The Impact of Violence,” followed by a “Peace Vigil” and a “Peace Walk” starting at noon at the Clocktower.
via Solano College to hold Stop the Violence summit with Vallejo events – Vallejo Times Herald.
By Ryan McCarthy
Two parents had to rush their children from Crystal Middle School to the hospital Thursday and emergency vehicles were at the school Friday to respond to other incidents involving children playing the “Choking Game,” Mayor Pete Sanchez said of the school where police and the director of the NorthBay Trauma Center will speak Tuesday about the dangers of the game.
Sanchez said he was told the children were all right. The game is known by other names that include Chinese Knockout, Space Cowboy and Purple Dragon.
via ‘Choking game’ spurs talks at Crystal Middle School Daily Republic.