Shinagawa has been the high school’s resource officer for three years, and from the moment he arrived, he said he realized that a group of kids needed options beyond what was offered.
“There were programs at the school that seemed to work well with girls; boys are different. They don’t want to sit around and talk about their feelings,” Shinagawa said.
He knew he had to offer them something that would inspire their imagination and keep them interested. He began working with the school’s administration on reaching out to students, some with truancy problems, some with aggressive behavior and others who saw their grades slipping. Counselors worked closely with Shinagawa and accessed funds through the Crescenta Valley Cares grant already in place for outreach programs as well as financial support from the district.
“The program will continue,” Associate Principal Chris Coulter said. “We just haven’t figured out who will be part of it and the grant [portion], since we have lost three counselors.”
The cuts were due to school district spending reductions. One of the counselors no longer at the school was in charge of the grant.
“And we are not certain what money we will get from the district [beyond the grant] because of the budget,” Shinagawa said. “It doesn’t require a lot of money.”
Both Coulter and Shinagawa agree the program has had a positive effect on campus.
“It is difficult to gauge its success, but since we started, there have been less fights on campus,” Shinagawa said.
Coulter added that on campus fighting has dropped dramatically due to programs like Bridge and the Rachel’s Challenge assembly that brought the tragedy of Columbine High School shootings to light for students. The assembly sparked a peaceful resolution club called Friends of Rachel.