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July 30
1869 - The Del Valle family's then-1,340 acre Rancho Camulos is legally separated (partitioned) from the Rancho San Francisco land grant [story]
Rancho Camulos


Ahead of the spring 2020 semester, William S. Hart Union High School District Deputy Superintendent Mike Kuhlman sent a statement to families mapping out school procedures and policies meant to further enhance school safety.

After the Nov. 14 shooting at Saugus High School, Kuhlman said the district has worked with multiple experts in the fields of safety and threat assessment, as well as a pediatrician who specializes in school crisis and bereavement support, in order to assist building upon the district’s safety policies.

“After the tragedy, we went back to look at the framework of our plan and how we’re going to put it into place with these experts’ models,” Kuhlman said. “We’re now working with people who have direct knowledge in the subject of safety protocol.”

Among the experts are Dr. David Schonfeld, who has served as the commissioner for the National Commission on Children and Disasters and the Sandy Hook Advisory Commission; Patrick Prince, the Chief Threat Assessment Officer at the University of Southern California; Joseph Wright, member of the Association of Threat Assessment Professionals; and Ben Kallin, Threat Assessment Officer at the University of Southern California.

In 2018, the district provided a safety planning and emergency preparedness message that included all the current procedures to ensure school safety.

These procedures include campus security; lockdown protocols; comprehensive safety plans related to child abuse, hate crimes, bullying and other situations; emergency drills; availability of mental health professionals; text-a-tip lines, where students can text school administration and local law enforcement about suspicious activity; and a threat-assessment team to determine resources available for at-risk individuals.

“We have these essential pieces in place, now we’re just working to enhance the system,” Kuhlman said. “The experts we’re working with say the best investment is in preparation through mental health support.”

Board President Linda Storli said the district can always improve, and mental health has been a primary focus in the high schools.

In the statement, Kuhlman said the district has invested in development to provide trauma-informed teaching and counseling by placing 50 therapists in schools in order to “serve the mental health needs of children of the Santa Clarita Valley,” and has hired a mental health coordinator to open wellness centers in schools, along with seven social workers and a child welfare specialist.

“I have no authority over gun control, but I can talk about mental health resources,” said Los Angeles County Supervisor Kathryn Barger, chair of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors. “I made the commitment that day (of the Saugus Shooting) that (the superintendents and I) are going to work together and help students in the community.”

Barger represents the county’s 5th District, which includes the Santa Clarita Valley.

Storli said she would like to see more mental health classes being offered starting in middle school, but mainly catered toward juniors and seniors in high school. She added she would like to begin a discussion regarding that topic at upcoming board meetings.

Since parents can still experience a level of anxiety as their children return to school, Kuhlman encourages parents and community members to come to community meetings, in which a panel of experts the district has worked with will speak and answer questions. Kuhlman anticipates there will be two meetings during the spring semester, but dates have not yet been scheduled.

Kuhlman also said it’s his personal commitment to always keep the victims and their families in mind as he steps into a leadership position after the retirement of Superintendent Vicki Engbrecht later this semester.

While the school district is making its best efforts, and coordinating with local, regional and national resources as much as possible, ultimately, Storli noted schools and the community can only make their best efforts to make sure a tragedy like the one that took place Nov. 14 doesn’t happen again.

“I don’t see anything that anyone could have done differently at Saugus,” Storli said. “It could have happened anywhere, it wasn’t specifically school-related. Doesn’t mean my heart doesn’t ache, but there’s nothing that could’ve been done.”

Vivianna Shields contributed to this report.

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LATEST SCHOOL NEWS
Friday, Jul 23, 2021
Newhall School District board members voted unanimously Tuesday to ask the California Department of Public Health to provide new face-covering guidance to give the district discretion over whether to make masks optional.
Monday, Jul 19, 2021
The William S. Hart Union High School District Governing Board unanimously approved the appointment of four new administrators.
Friday, Jul 16, 2021
A universal mask mandate for students and teachers while indoors will be required in the William S. Hart Union High School District, Superintendent Mike Kuhlman said during this week’s governing board meeting.
Thursday, Jul 15, 2021
In a partnership to expand access to recreational facilities for Santa Clarita residents, the city of Santa Clarita and the William S. Hart Union High School District are proud to announce tennis courts at four high schools are open to the public on weekdays through the end of July.
Thursday, Jul 15, 2021
The William S. Hart Union High School District governing board voted Wednesday to retire the Hart High School Indian mascot by June 30, 2025, citing a need to move away from a race-based symbol that has been associated with the school since Jan. 10, 1946.

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