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Patterson reveals school safety plan

PATTERSON -- Superintendent Patrick Sweeney released an 11-point plan Tuesday to improve communication and safety in Patterson schools, in response to a series of fights last month at Patterson High School.

The plan outlined steps the Patterson Unified School District is taking at the high school:

  • Two campus supervisor positions are being advertised and should be filled soon.
  • An additional guidance learning coordinator position will expand interventions for at-risk students and build parent connections.
  • A police officer will be at Patterson High five days a week. Creekside Middle School will have the same.
  • Several students are up for expulsion.
  • Michael Pritchard, a nationally recognized motivational speaker, will speak at the high school today to encourage and empower students to do the right thing.
  • Parent meetings will take place throughout the year.
  • Intervention assistance is being scheduled, which will include counseling, character education and more speakers.
  • The district will work with the business community to encourage companies to hire more teenagers.
  • The city recreation department will help provide entertainment opportunities for students, such as movie nights at the school and opening the stadium for public use.
  • The district is meeting with faith-based groups.
  • The district is working with the city of Patterson, the Center for Human Services and law enforcement to address issues such as substance abuse and violence.

The update is related to several fights that broke out Sept. 19 at Patterson High School. Dozens of sheriff's deputies and California Highway Patrol officers responded to quell the violence, and the campus was placed on lockdown while deputies searched for a reported gun. None was found. Ten students have been suspended.

The district highlighted Pritchard's speech, noting that he is behind an Emmy-nominated PBS series for youth called "LifeSteps," and a new book, "Listen to What Your Kids Aren't Telling You."

Bee staff writer Christina Salerno can be reached at csalerno@modbee.com or 238-4574.

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