Element 1

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admin - Posted on 03 January 2010

Element 1: Safe School Environments and Violence Prevention Activities

ERUSD’s goal is to create safe school and community environments in which children may learn and thrive. In order to achieve this goal, ERUSD will collaborate with school police, utilize technology, and forge relationships with community partners that will continue and be sustained beyond the period of federal funding. To meet Objective #1 ‘Improve attitudes on safety’ and Objective #2 ‘Decrease absences due to feeling unsafe’, the school police department will recruit, hire, and train one additional officer to support students and staff in community policing, prevention, truancy, and education activities. A community-wide anonymous tip-line will be created and installed, which will be monitored by the school police department. The SS/HS database will track and report all calls and responsive action taken. Security cameras will be installed at each school site and district facility, and monitors will be installed at every school site. The student database system will identify the number of incidents and crimes that were resolved utilizing the camera system. All school police officers and other relevant employees will be trained on the newly installed security system. An Emergency Operations Center (EOC) will be created at police headquarters, with the capability of viewing cameras from all ERUSD locations. To meet Objective #3 ‘Reduce Fighting’, ERUSD will implement the Too Good for Violence curricula, which will be taught by classroom teachers to students in grades K through 8. Each school will identify a School Site Coordinator to monitor fidelity of the program and track the total number of hours of instruction and attendance. All School Site Coordinators will be trained in the Train-the-Trainer program provided by The Mendez Foundation. All ERUSD staff members will be trained on proper reporting procedures for student referrals. The current referral system tracks offenses that warrant suspensions and expulsions, but the new system will be expanded to include all student referrals. This will enable the district to more accurately monitor and track incidents, leverage prevention measures, and allocate resources. To meet Objective #4 ‘Prevent/Increase Gang/Crew activity’, Campus Security Officers (CSOs) will conduct gang/crew awareness and prevention training in all middle and high schools for students, staff, parents, and the community. The CSOs will also be responsible for monitoring and tracking all gang and gang-related activity, such as ‘tagging’, clothing signifiers, and behavioral issues. CSOs will work closely with organizations such as Homeboy Industries who train and employ former gang members and at-risk youth. Data collection will be entered into the SS/HS database, and reports will be shared with school police and other law enforcement agencies to discuss statistics, trends, and prevention measures. To meet Objective #5 ‘Reduce Truancy”, the school police officer hired under this grant will be responsible for improving attendance by providing education on truancy laws. The officer will annually conduct 200 hours of truancy education and prevention training. The officer will work closely with law enforcement agencies in the neighboring communities to plan and conduct community-wide truancy sweeps. The truancy officer will also conduct frequent truancy sweeps within each ERUSD school site, directed at chronic hall walkers and first period absence. Truant students will have the option to be taken to ERUSD’s truancy center to receive academic instruction and social services, instead of being processed through the juvenile courts. The truancy officer will train students and parents on the administrative and penal laws of school attendance and consequences for habitual truants. To meet Objective #6 ‘Decrease Juvenile Delinquency’, a Deputy Probation Officer (DPO) will be assigned to ERUSD via the LA County Department of Probation. The DPO provides assessments, case management, serves on the School Attendance Review Board, and monitors the behavior, attendance, and school performance of youth on probation as well as at-risk youth. ERUSD will also create a uniform tracking system for juvenile offenders and truants.

Element Leader: Luis Gomez

Luis Gomez comes to ERUSD as a police officer reporting directly to district police chief, Jeff Fitchett.  Officer Gomez’s duties include monitoring truancy and identifying at-risk and habitual offenders.  Among his other responsibilities, Officer Gomez facilitates and participates in district and community truancy sweeps; holds community forums to explain and discuss California Penal Section 272, which holds parents liable for their children’s truancy; and expanded an education-based prevention and intervention program aimed at high-risk youth.  Officer Gomez serves as the Element 1 Working Group Leader. This element of the grant provides programs for safe school environments and violence prevention activities.

To add to his already-expansive duties, Officer Gomez teaches the G.R.E.A.T (Gang Resistance and Education Training) program to district middle school students.

Luis Gomez comes to his post with a solid background in law enforcement. He is an energetic and enthusiastic proponent of keeping our schools safe.  He graduated from the Rio Hondo Police Academy with an associate degree in Science-Administration of Justice and holds many law enforcement certifications that well equip him for his duties.

Luis grew up in Lincoln Heights and was formerly a sergeant in the U.S. Army Airborne operations, so it’s no surprise that he loves jumping out of airplanes!  He’s engaged to be married this summer.  Officer Gomez keeps in shape by running and working out at the gym, and enjoys many outdoor activities that include fishing, camping, hunting, and back packing.  Working on his house is a particular pleasure for him, as well as road trips, seafood, and Mediterranean cuisine.

Officer Luis Gomez is a dedicated and a valuable asset to our ERUSD schools.

Chief Jeff Fitchett

El Rancho Unified School District Police Chief, Jeff Fitchett, brings a varied background into his role as head of the District’s school police department.

Chief Fitchett, a former Marine, came to the District in 2004 to serve as the Director of Purchasing under the District Business Services Division. He has utilized his bidding and contract negotiation skills to bring about improved services to school sites that all together have an average daily attendance of 11,000 students while reducing costs for those goods and services. Now with the implementation of the Safe Schools/Healthy Students Grant Initiative, Jeff will be taking his Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Academy training to new heights as Chief in charge of all school police officers. He will not only be responsible for the overall management of the department, but will also partner with local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies in order to improve, develop, and share resources for the safety and well being of ERUSD students. Chief Fitchett has taken over responsibility for emergency management mitigation, intelligence on criminal matters, preparedness, response, and recovery programs. In addition, he is overseeing all grant programs and personnel and will continue to serve as a presenter, trainer, and speaker on subjects that include bullying prevention, gang awareness, and safe environments for district staff and students.

Another component of Chief Fitchett’s duties is the newly installed G.R.E.A.T. Program provided by the U.S. Department of Justice. ERUSD is extremely fortunate to have been awarded this grant that is a law enforcement officer-instructed curriculum. Prevention is the primary objective and is intended to be a kind of “immunization” against delinquency, youth violence and gang membership. Chief Fitchett believes that teaching grade schoolers, middle school students and families basic life skills will help them avoid using violent behavior to solve problems. It also fosters a positive relationship between law enforcement with the community’s youth and their families.

Chief Fitchett is a family man with four children who enjoy Lake Havasu vacations and deep-sea fishing. He has longtime community involvement with his church as a camp counselor and other youth programs as well as commitments with the Boy Scouts of America. His duties with the District, community activities, and family involvement require the dexterity of a juggler, but his considerable experience and skills help keep the balance for this dedicated professional.

Jesus Quinonez

Deputy Probation Officer Jesus Quinonez was assigned to the El Rancho School District last November.  Since that time, he has worked throughout the school District monitoring behavior, attendance, and school performance of youth who may be currently at-risk as well as formal probationers.  DPO Quinonez receives referrals from school officials, parents, and law enforcement officers, collaborating with them to bring the at-risk students to appropriate community and school resources.  In addition, he provides mentoring, counseling, and law education to his students.

Mr. Quinonez serves on the Element 1 Group for Safe School Environments and Violence Prevention Activities.  The district is indeed fortunate for the wealth of experience he brings to his post along with his educational background.  DPO Quinonez has an Associate of Arts from East Los Angeles Community College and a B.A. from California State University, Dominguez Hills that included a major in Interdisciplinary Studies with Honors.  He rose through the ranks of the Los Angeles County Probation Department, where his last assignment was with the Youthful Offender Block Grant (YOBG) program at Camp Ellison Onizuka.  His assignments included intensive supervision to High-Risk/High-Needs offenders, as well as providing care, safety, and control within a dormitory setting.

In spite of carrying a caseload and district duties, Jesus manages to relax with his wife and three children, enjoying family road trips and barbeques.  He’s an avid 49ers fan! And he likes to play pool and dominoes and enjoys steak, seafood, and Italian food. He likes old architecture and has been known to run and ride a bike occasionally.  He is a California native who grew up in East L.A. 

ERUSD is fortunate to have someone of Jesus Quinonez’s caliber working with our students.

Element 1: Activities

anonymous tip line
every 15 minutes
gang and crew intervention
Gang Resistance Education and Training (G.R.E.A.T.)
probation officers
too good for violence
truancy reduction

Community Partners & Sponsors

Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department