School Crisis Support Coordination Project (SCSCP) in the City: Part I
Students and their families in San Francisco have been experiencing a very difficult time with the recent rise in violence on and off school campuses. Media outlets have reported stabbings, incidents of youth bringing weapons to school and surfaced recordings of large fights at Stonestown Galleria mall involving youth. These concerns have prompted families and communities to ask City and School District leaders what is being done?
DCYF recognizes that true intervention requires many of us to work together in partnership and to implement multiple strategies and approaches that are culturally responsive, centered on promoting positive youth development practices and most importantly, recognizing we are all experiencing the aftereffects of COVID-19 pandemic. In SF, students have lost two years of social emotional development skills because of the school closures and the transition to remote learning. According to the National Center for Educational Statistics (NCES), 87% of public schools reported that the COVID pandemic has negatively impacted student social emotional development during the 2021–2022 school year. It is also reported that prior to the pandemic, physical fights at school were decreasing, but after the pandemic, 46% of schools saw a rise in fighting and threats between students. This nationwide data is consistent with the increase in violence that SFUSD is experiencing.
“There are no excuses for violence, but there are steps we can take to prevent this kind of behavior from taking hold in our schools and our City,” said Mayor London Breed. “As City leaders, we are committed to working together with the School District to make sure our kids are safe and have the support they need, especially after the incredible strain on our young people caused by the last few years.” In a recent press release, she announced a series of steps the City is taking to prevent the increase in youth violence. Strategies include expanding existing programs and strengthening coordination and collaboration both on and off campus.
One of the programs that will be expanding is the School Crisis Support Coordination Project (SCSCP) multi-disciplinary team. Under the leadership the DCYF and SFUSD, this team includes several community partners as well as consultants, National Institute for Criminal Justice and Reform. The goal is to reduce high-risk incidents involving youth and actively reduce incidents by coordinating and working closely with School Violence Interrupters (SVIs).
School Violence Interrupters are a new creation, but not new in concept. Hired from the community with lived relevant experiences, they serve as mentors for the youth and are trained in conflict mediation. They bring their knowledge and experience from the community to help intervene with on campus conflicts. They visit SFUSD middle and high schools frequently to build connections with students and campus faculty fostering relationships with students’ overtime.
The need for the SCSCP and School Violence Interrupters is continuing to grow. The pilot program began during the second half of the 2021–2022 School Year. In September 2022, SCSCP won the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) STOP School Violence Grant which allowed for an expansion of SCSCP to be able to work with more schools and more partners.
With this additional funding, DCYF plans on growing the School Violence Interrupters from 8 to 16 who will be serving 17 school sites, hire a SVIs Coordinator, and support training of School District personnel and Juvenile Probation staff. Under the direction of the Mayor in response to the recent rise of violence, DCYF will hire more School Violence Interrupters on a faster timeline, launch a citywide social media campaign to build awareness, and design a curriculum to further assist high-risk youth.
DCYF is actively seeking more community partnerships who are working on school campuses. If you are interested in joining the School Crisis Support Coordination Project (SCSCP) multi-disciplinary team or learning more about this work, contact Jasmine Dawson, DCYF Deputy Director of City and Community Partnerships.
Stay tuned for Part II of this School Crisis Support Coordination Project (SCSCP) in the City blog series, we will highlight the SCSCP model and share the experiences of the School Violence Interrupters.