This district of almost 26k students deserves our look
Here's a recap of the meeting on March 23rd. Thanks to North Highlands resident and parent Crystal Harding for sending over some notes.
Our editor also watched the meeting and thinks it's important to talk more about TRUSD - transparency, accessibility for parents, and that darn police department. So we'll focus there...
This Police Department, Yall...
At the meeting Trustee Baker asked to have community input into the Twin Rivers Police Dept Manual that was being revised
Trustee Baker: "One Board member (Sandoval) has brought up on several occasions the police manual that's in the works and I have a concern about the policy manual as it's been written...that we are not seeking any type of community input. So I would like the Superintendent to put together a 711 committee to advise and consent on this policy manual for our police department..to get community input on what they expect from our police department"
Trustee Sandoval: "what I have asked for specifically in that manual is something this Board never voted on. It's how these searches are conducted. What grade level they begin in...that should have been voted on a long time ago"
Trustee Sandoval: "I had no idea they (the police dept) were working on a full on manual...I haven't seen a manual. Is there a manual? (silence) Is there a manual that they are revising or is there not?"
Superintendent Martinez: "Trustee Sandoval that's what they are doing, they are revising a manual and developing a whole manual" (say what now?) "It's being re-written"
Soooooo has anyone seen this manual about how the Twin Rivers Police Depart conducts its business? The Department that 10 years ago had shirts that said "You Raise, We Cage Em" with kids behind bars? Yah, we're gonna need to see that manual Bruh.
We did our research and found what we think is the manual in question. It's 500 pages from 2012 so yah, we as a community need to dig in (see event invite to do just that at the end of this article). From a quick search it appears to have nothing about police dogs searching kids backpacks so that should NOT be happening.
In the end, the Board decided that each Trustee select 1 community member serve on the task force/committee and will bring back recommendations.
Live Public Comments @ Meetings...Why hasn't this happened??
Background: Before covid, community members were asking for the meetings to be live streamed - no dice. Since covid, community folxs have been asking to give public comment during the meeting. The Board has refused and instead the Clerk (Trustee Elkarra) has to read people's comments and it's timed (pretty funny to watch but also very sad that people can't call in to read their own darn comments!)
Trustee Elkarra who's probably tired of reading these comments asked for meetings to be accessible for public comment through zoom audio features. He says he's seen this done at tons of other School Board meetings and it can be done at TRUSD.
Trustee Jefferson: I agree. I think we need to be more transparent....I think they are feeling left out. It's the least we can do to let them have a voice at the time of an item. (damn right!) It's happening on City Council, it's happening in other forums...
Trustee Fowler (with the quickness): I think we have to be careful not to have the same person calling in 3 or 4 times. (but what if it's for different items tho?)
Trustee Elkarra assures here this can be done. "There's ways that school districts have been employing it."
But we see the real hangup is, they don't want to be there all night listening to public comments.
Chairwoman Rivas: "My only concern is being at board meetings until midnight or 1 o'clock in the morning. We have a stop time of 10pm"
After more convincing by Trustee Elkarra and Trustee Sandoval explaining how it's done efficiently at City Council they decide the Superintendent should go research more options and come back.
What else happened at this meeting?
Public comments mentioned concerns with symptom room for students who may be experiencing COVID 19 symptoms as they wait for parents to pick them up. Need for health professionals to properly care for and support students.
7/11 Facilities Advisory Committee Recommend "Surplus" Properties- Those properties they deem are no longer needed for school purposes. They recommend how to dispose of the property; 8 properties recommended for Surplus - Aero Haven, Futures HS/COA (charter school), Greg Thatch Circle /Terrance Park (Vacant land), Panhandle/Village 13 (vacant parcel), Plover School, Rio Linda Transportation Yard, Smythe Academy. (What does this mean for students at these schools?)
Trustee Sandoval shared the need to invest in counselors, intervention, and behavioral support services, and evaluate the salary and compensation of the Twin Rivers Police Dept. Reinvest in staff and folks to help students address transition, mental health challenges, wellness, etc.
Join SJPC for a Discussion on Twin Rivers USD & Social Justice
Monday, April 12th from 5:30-7pm
Register in advance for this meeting: