September 11, 2019

Superintendent Message to Community
This week, our American flags once again fly at half staff.   Eighteen years ago this September 11, our feelings about national security and our very way of life were forever altered.  It is appropriate that we pause to remember those who were lost in the terrorist attacks of 9/11 and those who willingly gave their lives trying to save the many innocent victims of the attacks.  To honor the memory of those who were lost that fateful day, we must NEVER forget their sacrifice, and we must also consider what we have learned along the way.

It is astonishing to think that virtually every SMHS Senior was born on or after September 11, 2001.  Post-9/11 America is the ONLY America our kids have known and over their first 18 years, the world has changed drastically around them.  Certainly, how people communicate today is far different. The earliest of social media sites, Friendster, was not launched until 2002.  Remember MySpace ?  It launched in 2003.  Facebook (2004), Twitter (2006), Instagram (2010) and SnapChat (2012) were all launched in and around their world -- forever changing the way young people interact.  Periscope, Bebo, Beme, Discord , and Meerkat are just some of the social media iterations launched since 2015.  

In this "brave new world" of social networking, many serious issues and problems have plagued our schools and society, not the least of which are internet safety and mental wellness.  Clearly, threats on social media and in conversation are getting more attention from students and the public. These real or imagined threats have even impacted our lives here in San Marino and unfortunately, we are not alone.  In December 2018, a Washington Post analysis found that 4.1 million students endured at least one lockdown in the 2017-18 school year. Forty-two threats were logged in Los Angeles area schools in the 20 days following the Parkland school shooting in February 2018. 

Even San Marino has experienced incidents of threatening behavior involving social media that has impacted our campuses.  From each event, we have learned a great deal from our fine police and fire departments and have improved our communications and protocols.  We will continue to move towards developing a stronger partnership with our parents, students and community that will enable us to hear from and rely on parents and students to "say something" when they " see something ."

We offer several safety-related resources for parents and students.  Students and community members may report suspicious activity using WeTip on the Home Page of our School and District websites, including our District mobile app Safety and Security Measures , including guidance on what to do before or during an emergency, are available on the District website. 

I want to pause and thank Police Chief Incontro who has worked with us to provide stepped-up patrols during this difficult week and Fire Chief Rueda who continues to partner with the school district in long-term security planning and support.  If you see additional police or fire personnel around our campuses over the next several days, know that our partners are watching over us in a vigilant way. Both Chiefs are true partners with our schools and bring me great confidence as Superintendent, as together we navigate and communicate the complexities of what it means to be a kid and raise our children in America today .

Thank You.

Dr. Jeff Wilson
San Marino Unified School District Board of Education

Lisa Link
Chris Norgaard
Vice President
C. Joseph Chang
Shelley Ryan
Corey Barberie