The teachers at Castle Park Elementary who called themselves the "Castle Park Family" created an atmosphere of hostility toward students and other teachers. The school has been suffering ever since that group of teachers came to power in the 1990s, even though most of those teachers have left the school, because the community lost faith in the school. Only five members of the "Castle Park Family" are still on the staff, but the "Family" still has power since one of its foremost members, Peg Myers, is now president of Chula Vista Educators.
"Upon review of other Safe School Plans — including Castle Park Elementary with the second highest district suspensions at 32 — previous plans often gave little or no detail regarding school crime.
Castle Park’s solely stated 'The district office publishes regular reports on school crimes and safety data.'"
District revamps safe school plans
By Ashly McGlone
San Diego Union-Tribune
October 22, 2010
CHULA VISTA — The state’s largest elementary school district is revamping the way it compiles its Safe School Plans.
Staff at Chula Vista Elementary School District announced a “call to action” at Tuesday night’s board meeting, laying out new efforts to ensure plans are compiled at school sites properly.
The annual plans — outlined in the California Education Code — require assessments of school safety based on the review of crime data, something that was not happening at some campuses.
Kellogg Elementary school site council member William Perno raised concerns over the plans at the district’s September board meeting, prompting the district to look into the matter.
Among other concerns, Perno cited incongruity with the plan and district-reported data on the California Department of Education website.
For the last two years, the plans at his school included the following statement on crime: “Crime at Kellogg Elementary School is minor and infrequent. Police reports of assault vandalism, theft or other crimes are rare. Graffiti is a minor problem.”
On the state website, 16 suspensions are noted at Kellogg Elementary in the 2008-09 school year, 12 of which are violence and drug related.
Upon review of other Safe School Plans — including Castle Park Elementary with the second highest district suspensions at 32 — previous plans often gave little or no detail regarding school crime.
Castle Park’s solely stated “The district office publishes regular reports on school crimes and safety data.”
Still, board member and Chula Vista Police Chief David Bejarano said on Tuesday that the city, and in turn its schools, are among the safest in the county.
“The City of Chula Vista, and obviously that includes the 44 schools we have in the district, remains one of the safest cities in the county... There’s only two cities — the cities of Coronado and Carlsbad — that have lower violent crime rates than we do; keep in mind we are the second largest city. And then overall, again, we are one of the safest cities in the county.” Bejarano said. He also cited the district’s partnership with the police department providing school resource officers as a district asset, as did other board members.
Nancy Kerwin, executive director of student, family and community services, district Spokesman Anthony Millican and Sgt. Carlos Valdivia presented the report, in which Valdivia gave the district an “A” rating, but improvements were nonetheless identified.
“In reviewing our Safe School Plans, we identified a number of weaknesses,” Kerwin said, citing inconsistency among the school plans, minimal review of crime data and staff unfamiliarity with Education Code requirements.
“Hence, we contacted Stephanie Papas with the California Department of Education’s safe school office and frankly declared that we believe our past plans are insufficient to meet our extremely high standards as a system,” she said. District, state and police crime data will be now be provided to schools.
District Spokesman Anthony Millican said the district will be using a nearly $300,000 federal grant recently awarded to fund the creation of a standardized Safe School Plan template, as well as staff training...