Santa Barbara Community Members Concerned About SBUSD Student Safety and Campus Culture
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As a result of the recent online threats against female students, the inadequate response by school leaders, and the long-standing tolerance of behaviors that have accumulated to foster a misogynistic, racist, and bullying culture within the SBUSD and San Marcos High School in particular, we make these demands on behalf of the wellbeing of our community. We believe it is the job of the school to work together with parents, students, educators, and the community to effectively remedy societal problems that start in our schools, which is why believe all community members, not just parents with children in the SBUSD, should have a voice in this matter.
We, the undersigned concerned parents, students, staff, and community members of the SBUSD demand each of the following actions, and also require that each is listed as an Action Item for the SBUSD Board meeting in March:
1. No armed School Resource Officer (SRO) on San Marcos High School Campus. We firmly stand against SROs in our school system and urge the Superintendent and Board of the Santa Barbara Unified School District (SBUSD) to do the same. The misplaced perception of added safety that some parents gain from the presence of an SRO would come at an established negative impact, with disproportionate impact on students of color and disabled students. A summary of evidence showing SROs to be a short-sighted, ineffective, and harmful approach to school safety is provided at the following link: https://tinyurl.com/SROdata
2. Any already existing SROs on school campuses in the SBUSD will receive in-depth, multi-day, recurring training in implicit bias. Any SRO on campus will also receive in-depth, multi-day, recurring training in nonviolent de-escalation and intervention strategies. Trainings in implicit bias, de-escalation, and intervention should begin before they are placed on campus and be maintained and updated in regular intervals throughout their assignment as an SRO.
3. Intervention programming will be provided to students, parents, and staff to target misogyny, bullying, and racism that has been reported by students as being a part of SBUSD campus culture.
4. A task force on mental health services will be formed to ensure the mental health services provided to students are effective in promoting wide-spread prevention of psychological crises and limit feelings of stigma for seeking help.
5. A course in Ethnic Studies will be included as a graduation requirement for all SBUSD high school students. Ethnic Studies includes gender studies, and the study of other marginalized groups. Research shows that these course increase empathy and understanding, and improve intergroup relations.
6. Superintendent Matsuoka will visit the campus and address the student body to explain the above actions being taken to improve the safety of students and target problems within the campus culture.
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