July 28, 2014
Dr. Audrey Yamagata-Noji, President
Santa Ana Unified School District Board of Education
1601 E. Chestnut Avenue
Santa Ana, CA 92701
Dear Dr. Noji, Board Members, and Superintendent Miller:
The Orange County Human Relations Commission applauds the Santa Ana Unified School District Board of Education for the inclusion of restorative practices in their recently adopted 2014-15 Local Control Accountability Plan. OC Human Relations recognizes the importance of such practices and has made a strategic investment of time and resources into developing a Restorative Justice Program at Santa Ana Valley High School this past year.
Orange County Human Relations Commission was created in 1971 by the Board of Supervisors in collaboration with the League of Cities to foster mutual understanding among Orange County residents and eliminate prejudice, intolerance and discrimination. In pursuit of that mission, the Commission provides input on important issues relating to intergroup understanding in the areas of employment, police-community relations, health, housing and education.
In 1989, the Commission was called upon to help with an incident at a local high school involving student leaders and the use of black face. Our staff mediated between the student body leaders and African American students to ease campus tensions, and then conducted a day-long retreat to rebuild community on campus. This process grew into our comprehensive school intergroup relations and violence prevention program, BRIDGES.
Since its inception, the restorative practices of the BRIDGES Program have been welcomed in many other schools in the county, reaching 25,000 students this school year. We are excited about the future of restorative practices in Santa Ana and continuing our partnership with SAUSD and Santa Ana Valley High School.
For the Commission I am,
Ken Inouye, Chair
Orange County Human Relations Commission