All three Lamorinda school districts have now greenlighted a plan to hire a child safety awareness coordinator to educate students about child abuse, bullying and sexual harassment.
Orinda School District officials voted Monday to approve their portion of an agreement between the three districts and the Child Abuse Prevention Council of Contra Costa County to fund a full-time educator to teach children about safety. Board President Julie Rossiter, trustees Tyson Krumholz and Matt Moran approved the agreement; directors Sarah Butler and Chris Severson abstained from voting.
In Lafayette, trustees unanimously decided on Tuesday to go ahead with the collaboration after adding a 60-day termination clause to the understanding, in case the new hire doesn't work out.
"Let's assume you have the best curriculum in the world. If you have the wrong person delivering the curriculum, it will not be effective," Lafayette Superintendent Fred Brill explained.
According to the agreement, the districts will hire a child safety awareness coordinator who will develop and teach a safety program to all first-, third-, fifth- and seventh-graders in Lamorinda's three school districts. The coordinator will be employed by the Child Abuse Prevention Council of Contra Costa County and report to its executive director, Carol Carrillo, and will meet with parents to teach them about the program.
The cost for each district will be based on average daily
The Lafayette school district already addresses bullying through an education program, but not child abuse prevention. Brill said he was looking forward to working with the abuse prevention council.
"What I think this board voted on was saying child safety is really important to us and making sure the kids are safe and feel safer ... and they're willing to make the investment in that," Brill said. "This is an expression of our values as a community and a district."
Earlier this month, Moraga School District officials voted to approve and fund their portion of the agreement. Administrators there have been working with the abuse prevention council to develop safety guidelines and provide "mandated reporter" training to school staff in the wake of a sex abuse scandal that surfaced last year, but had its roots in the 1990s.
Educators and staffers in the Lafayette and Orinda school districts have also received mandated reporter training through the council, Carrillo said.
"The goal in all of this is to integrate child abuse prevention programs and studies into the community so (child abuse) is not something people are afraid to talk about," she said.