School Safety in Santa Barbara County: What Now, What Next?

Public Presentation by South Coast Task Force on Youth Safety to be Held Oct 17 in Goleta

Exclusionary Discipline Practices, Bullying, Access to Guns and Lack of Access to Mental Health Services Are Nation’s Top School Safety Issues

GOLETA, CA October 16, 2018 – The National Association of School Psychologists states that students who do not feel safe and supported at school, both physically and psychologically, cannot learn to their fullest potential. That is the starting point for an upcoming presentation on school safety in Santa Barbara County presented by the South Coast Task Force on Youth Safety (SCTFYS). The organizers are hosting Conversation on School Safety in the South Coast, a forum for educators, physical and mental health professionals, social service providers, law enforcement, parents, youth and others to engage in solution-based discussions to promote safety in schools. The conversation will include a panel of local leaders who are tasked with ensuring children are safe while attending area schools. Specific topics to be covered at this SCTFYS quarterly meeting are mental health resources, school discipline, bullying and other youth challenges and community concerns in Santa Barbara County. The event will be held at Goleta Valley Junior High from 3pm until 5pm on Wednesday, October 17, 2018. The public is invited.

The afternoon panel includes:

Dr. Frann Wageneck – Assistant Superintendent, Santa Barbara Unified School District

Kelly Moore – Safety Coordinator, Santa Barbara Unified School District

Dr. Erika Felix – Associate Professor, Gevirtz Graduate School of Education, UCSB

Barnaby Gloger – Principal/Safety Coordinator, Carpinteria Unified School District

Stephanie Ramirez-Zarate – Field Representative, Assembly Member Monique Limón (AD-37)

After the panel discussion, there will be a moderated question-and-answer period.

“We are looking forward to hosting this important conversation with the community and our Taskforce partners,” said Saul Serrano, Coordinator of the South Coast Task Force on Youth Safety and one of the event’s producers. “In the last year, school safety and access to mental health services for youth have been among the most discussed topics in our region. We are looking forward to having leaders in school safety share information, provide updates, and let us know what is being done to enhance safety in schools.”

This special event was incubated out of the successful Summit on Youth Safety and Wellness held in July of this year, and is the most recent in a series of annual gatherings and summits on youth safety held in Santa Barbara County since 2011.

The National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) suggests that supportive school environments employ effective discipline strategies that help to: (1) reduce school violence, (2) prevent bullying and harassment, and (3) improve school climate. They believe that exclusionary discipline practices, such as out-of-school suspensions, do not improve school safety and are often administered unfairly, and at disproportionate rates for certain populations, which fuels bad outcomes for students in the classroom and throughout life. The NASP research also indicates that approximately 1 in 4 students experiences bullying during the school year, and that increased gun access and gun possession are associated with heightened violence, thereby suggesting that increasing the presence of guns in schools is likely to have harmful effects on students. These issues and more will be addressed at the upcoming SCTFYS presentation.

The South Coast Task Force on Youth Safety is a regional partnership that includes the County of Santa Barbara, and the cities of Goleta, Santa Barbara, and Carpinteria.  Participants include elected officials, local government agencies and executives, law enforcement, education, faith community, philanthropic and community-based organizations, youth and parents. The mission of SCTFYS is to connect, mobilize and align community resources to enhance the safety and quality of life for youth, their families and the community. The South Coast Task Force on Youth Safety is administered by the Community Action Commission (CAC) of Santa Barbara County. Information at www.youthsafetytaskforce.org

“It is so important for schools to provide a safe and inclusive environment where all students feel welcome and supported especially when they make a mistake or repeatedly break the rules,” said Jill D. Sharkey, Ph.D., Associate Dean for Research and Outreach, Gevirtz Graduate School of Education at University of California, Santa Barbara, and a member of the SCTFYS. “Students do best when they learn in caring environments with strict and consistent rules. Through relentlessly positive and constructive education, schools can help all children thrive, even if they experience trauma or daily stress.”

Community members interested in attending the October 17 Conversation on School Safety in the South Coast can call Community Action Commission (805) 964-8857 x1152 to RSVP or for information.

About CAC: Community Action Commission of Santa Barbara County creates opportunities for families and individuals to achieve stability through its 22 health and human service programs, including Head Start, Healthy Senior Lunch, Weatherization and Energy Assistance, Family & Youth Services, and 2-1-1 Santa Barbara. CAC serves more than 10,000 people throughout the county each year. It also employs over 400 health, education and social service workers and is one of Santa Barbara County’s largest employers. Community Action Commission is a private non-profit agency that leverages support for Santa Barbara County residents through private funding as well as government contracts and grants. More information available at www.cacsb.com

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PRESS CONTACT: Sheri Mobley 805 845-5627 sheri@seamlesspr.com

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