Students share struggles, successes at Countywide Safety Summit

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Photos SBCSS: Law enforcement leaders from across San Bernardino County spoke to County Superintendent Alejandre and other participants virtually during the Chiefs’ Panel.
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This year’s San Bernardino Countywide Gangs and Drugs Task Force Safety Summit focused on safety issues affecting our schools and substance abuse among the youth population. It was held virtually on October 13.

“It is inspiring to see the community come together to address critical issues our young people are facing which ultimately impact our region as a whole,” said County Superintendent Ted Alejandre. “When our children thrive, our community thrives.”

County Superintendent Ted Alejandre and 47th District California State Assemblymember Eloise Gomez-Reyes made the opening remarks. The summit included a Chiefs’ Panel consisting of law enforcement leaders from throughout the area as well as San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools (SBCSS) staff.

Panelists discussed safety issues within schools and the community at-large. Questions were also fielded from individuals who participated virtually.

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San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools staff gathered with regional law enforcement members to discuss community safety.

A second panel consisted of teens and young adults who have been in foster care or experienced homelessness. They shared their unique challenges and spoke about the people and resources that helped them.

“I have experienced homelessness and the foster system,” said one young panelist. “I have always strived to achieve my goals and break my family’s cycle of poor choices. There are people I’ve met who genuinely want to help me, and I know who and where to go. I’ve had mentors who have guided me. I am so grateful for the opportunity to share my experiences. It helps me to know my voice is valued.”

The most common responses from recent student surveys were shared. A majority of students asked for mentorship and stability to overcome difficulties associated with being in the foster care system, adverse life experiences and the ongoing pandemic. They also pleaded for their voices and ideas to be heard and respected.

The keynote speaker, San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department Lieutenant Marc Bracco, spoke about the most important drug-related issues facing the region.

Over 160 people attended the summit, which was open to all community members including school administrators, counselors, and security personnel, as well as local law enforcement, faith-based and community organizations, parents and other community leaders. The annual event is designed to help participants network, collaborate and exchange effective strategies to help keep our communities safe.

The summit is organized by SBCSS Children Deserve Success and the San Bernardino Countywide Gang and Drugs Task Force, in partnership with the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department, San Bernardino County Probation Department and the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office.

The San Bernardino Countywide Gangs and Drugs Task Force provides a leadership role in advocating the prevention and suppression of gang membership and drug use. The task force is a coordinated partnership among education, law enforcement, criminal justice, elected officials, private enterprise and community members across the county.

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