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CUSD calls parent meeting on student safety
Scott Siegel

Student safety is one of the top priorities set by the School Board and staff of the Ceres Unified School District. Every day, parents entrust us with the safety and education of their children; it is a responsibility that we take very seriously. We recognize the importance of the partnership between parents and our schools in ensuring students learn in a safe, secure and nurturing environment. While we do not want to be alarmists, we have noticed an uptick in student behaviors, particularly at the high school level, that have put some of our students at risk. Among these behaviors is an increase in the use of illegal drugs.

We want to do all we can toward prevention, including reaching out to parents and the community so they know what the trouble signs are and what services are available should their student need help. To that end, we will host the first in a series of parent meetings on May 3 at 6:30 p.m. in the Argus multipurpose room 2555 Lawrence Street, Ceres. Of course, members of the community are also welcome to attend.
Due to the anticipated interest, this will be a ticketed event. Free tickets can be picked up at schools within the District starting on Tuesday, April 25. Please do not worry if this event fills up. We will take your name and contact information at your student's school site and make sure that you receive an invitation to a subsequent meeting. We will hold as many of these meetings as needed, into the next school year, to accommodate all interested parties.

Each meeting will feature a panel of experts who will provide information on prevention, signs of trouble and available services, both in and out of school. The areas of focus are drug use, human trafficking, violence and gangs. I am pleased to announce that we have assembled the following panel for the event:

• Sergeant Jose Berber of the Ceres Police Department;

• Jose Beltran, director of Child Welfare and Attendance, Ceres Unified School District;

• Brian Murphy, coordinator of Student Support Services, Ceres Unified School District;

• Debra Johnson, director of Without Permission, a non-profit organization combatting human trafficking.

I believe that all of our parents K-12 will benefit from this event as we discuss not only the problems, but provide prevention strategies, warning signs and resources to help. We know that parents are indispensable partners in helping to educate students, and it is my hope that parents see all of us at Ceres Unified as positive partners in the raising of their students. We look forward to seeing you at one of the meetings. For questions, please contact your student's school site.