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    Conejo Valley | Student trustee discusses role of psychologists and mental health service

    By Michael Hernandez


    THOUSAND OAKS—Conejo Valley Unified School District student trustee Jordan Scott (Westlake High School senior) spoke first during board comments on the role school psychologists have on campus and whether schools had the proper support for mental health.

    Jordan Scott

    “Is the school psychologist advertised on campus?  Is there proper support for mental health?  What kind of atmosphere exists (on campus)?   Is there an awareness of psychology in the curriculum?

    Later during board comments, Sandee Everett asked to place Jordan Scott on the district website after stating:  “Our thoughts and prayers (go to) those injured and traumatized in the Saugus High School shooting last week.   The mental health of students must be at the forefront (especially) when the shooter was a student at the school.

    “We must work on campus safety and focus more on mental health and students learning coping skills with the stress they live with.  We must deal with students that do not feel like they have friends.

    “We have great student groups who are looking out for the lonely.”

    School District hosts Thursday core literature preview night at board room 

    Forget Me Not (Ellie Terry) and Just Mercy (Bryan Stevenson) are the two core literature books for 7th and 9th grade that will be reviewed Thursday (Nov. 21) in the board room from 7-8:30 p.m. (1402 E. Janss Road).

    Forget Me Not is a book written in both poetry and prose about a middle school girl (Calliope June) that has Tourette Syndrome written from her point of view and that of her boyfriend.  Just Mercy (“adopted for young adults” edition) takes place in the South.  The story is about acclaimed lawyer and social justice advocate Bryan Stevenson who is fighting for freedom for the lives of the wrongfully imprisoned.

    Both core literature books were reviewed by Conejo Valley Unified School District English teachers with discussion and review taking place in the Secondary Curriculum Advisory Council (SCAC) meeting.

    Approximately $20,000 in funds have been allocated for purchase and replacement of core literature titles.   An information item will be presented for a second time to the School Board at the Dec. 3 meeting with a second Preview Night at the CVUSD Board Room on Dec. 12 from 6-8 p.m. and then presented for a vote for potential adoption at the Dec 17th board meeting.

    The CVUSD board adopted the below core literature books at its Sept. 17 meeting:

    Contrasting Public Hearing comments given at school board meeting 

    Jon Cummings, leader and co-founder of Indivisible: Conejo, spoke of the candlelight vigil prior to the school board meeting that gathered participants from the Gay Straight Alliance, Conejo Valley Pride, and Indivisible: Conejo, to bring an “awareness of violence and discrimination” that transgenders face each year with at least 30 transgenders killed by violent means last year and 331 murdered internationally.

    “We must courageously overcome unjust barriers…to make safe communities for young people, particularly the transgender,” said Cummings.

    “Parents have the right that their children not be exposed to a moral doctrine opposing family belief systems,” said Tim Cooley, president of the California Parent Alliance.  “We the people have this right.  We will not let you teach moral doctrine…Please give heed to what I say.”

    Emily Mehlhoff read a poem in which six travelers take hold of a different part of an elephant and then described to others what they discovered:  “Each man is describing his worldview.  Each man’s worldview comes from his own personal experience…The elephant represents CVUSD…As CVUSD is planning to celebrate inclusion week, may we all be mindful to include all worldviews.  If you exclude any worldview, then you are not being inclusive.

    Emily Mehlhoff

    “Being inclusive means that we allow each individual the right to their own beliefs.

    We value each member of our society.  CVUSD must acknowledge and adhere to the protected constitutional rights of all.  Funded by taxpayers, CVUSD is a government educational entity that should be for all the people.”

    In other board action, Resolution #19/20-13 in support of the 2020 U.S. Census was adopted 5-0 with motion made by Cindy Goldberg and second by Bill Gorbach.

    Future board meeting topics to be discussed:

    • Social and emotional supports for general education classroom students;
    • Bathroom use, misuse and supervision issues; and
    • Timeline for sex education adoption.


    Michael Hernandez, Co-Founder of the Citizens Journal—Ventura County’s online news service; editor of the History Makers Report and founder of History Makers International—a community nonprofit serving youth and families in Ventura County, is a former Southern California daily newspaper journalist and religion and news editor. He has worked 25 years as a middle school teacher in Monrovia and Los Angeles Unified School Districts. Mr. Hernandez can be contacted by email at [email protected].

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