RESPONSE FROM SAN MATEO UNION HIGH SCHOOL DISTRICT
We agree that school violence data and the efforts made toward the goal of "safe schools" should be readily available to the public. We collect all data scrupulously and formally present the data in public session to the Board of Trustees. This data is commented upon by the Superintendent at a great many public meetings in the community during the course of the school year. This topic is discussed in some detail with eighth-grade parents at each of the middle schools when the Superintendent meets with the eighth grade parents during the spring semester. This District also meets at least twice yearly with the Police Chiefs of the six jurisdictions in the District, the Chief of Probation, and the district's high school principals for the purpose of reviewing all data, observing patterns of student body conduct, and planning together safety programs which represent the expertise and joint actions of both law enforcement and school administrations.
We would also ask that the Grand Jury note the following district-wide programs which we believe enhance, pro actively, the overall ability of the District to maintain safe schools. A good safety program embraces several human service agencies, incorporates the entire community into the effort holistically, and develops programs which preempt occasions of violence by providing an early warning system which can provide guidance to young people with a tendency toward violence or aggression. We do the following:
The District funds the Community Outreach Program which places a Probation Officer on every campus;
The District funds on every campus a Safety Advocate who is a full-time counselor trained professionally and provided by the North Peninsula Family Alternative Agency; this counselor works with young people and their families who have been referred to the Advocate because of the presence of indicators which signal a tendency for violence or aggression;
The District, in conjunction with Juvenile Judge Marta Diaz and with funding from the Peninsula Community Foundation, is implementing a "Respect for One Another" program which responds to denigrating speech and other forms of bullying by means of a training seminar which is an alternative to suspension; and
The District has developed and delivers a series of student body assemblies which focus on the importance of mutual respect throughout the faculty, staff, and student body; the emphasis is on civility and respectful interactions between every member of the school community and the prohibition of language which insults other people.
Approved by the Board of Trustees
August 2, 2001