Support AB 656

Anthony Avalos, Gabriel Fernandez, Noah Cuatro; names synonymous with the Antelope Valley child welfare system. Their cases have brought attention to the disproportionate levels of child abuse and social worker burnout in the area.

What still needs to be addressed is the racism which permeates every facet of the child welfare system in both our country and our county.

Children of color are being removed from their homes at alarmingly disproportionate rates to their representation in society. If we want to support local families breaking free from cyclical, multi-generational child welfare involvement, we must pass California Assembly Bill 656.

AB 656 is a proactive measure that would allow the Antelope Valley to participate in a pilot program to fight the forces of racism. This measure uses a blind removal strategy for deciding when a child should be removed from their parent’s home. Identifying information such as gender, race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation and parents’ income level are redacted before a removal decision is made.

The same program proved successful in significantly reducing removals of Black children in Nassau County, NY over a 5-year trial period. We contend that the passage of AB 656 could produce similar results in our community and allow the Antelope Valley to ensure a more equitable and less traumatizing process for maltreated children and reported families.

AB 656 is being heard by committee on March 15th. We urge you to contact Antelope Valley Assemblyman Tom Lackey to voice your support of this legislation.

Anastasia Herold

Ashley Grace/students in the MSW department at USC

The best things in life

We now have a local “defund the police” version in the A.V. called cancellthecontractav where they want limited school funds diverted from campus police to other programs. Anybody who has worked in the schools will disagree. Fact is children by nature are rebellious.

Law enforcement on campus serves as a deterrent to crime such as thefts, assaults, batteries and threats of physical violence committed against students, teachers and school staff by fellow students.

No teacher should fear his or her students, teachers have become parents, big brothers sisters on top of teaching. Discipline starts in the home by loving caring parents and is a parental obligation as well as a responsibility.

One has to ask why would any student bring a weapon on campus or join a click, group, posse or gang? The answer is simple, to protect themselves from bullies and each other.

Students come to school to learn, teachers come to school to teach, campus security and school police come to school to uphold that fine balance.  

But what do I know I only worked for both L.A.U.S.D and the A.V.H.S.D as campus security and created many programs that benefitted students all out of pocket. As they say ... the best things in life are free.

Miguel Rios


Striking contrast

I just watched President Biden sign the Covid relief bill in the Oval Office.

I hope it doesn’t sound shallow, but my favorite part was Biden not holding the document up and showing it around to cameras and all in the room with a smug expression on his face.

He simply made a few impromptu comments about the bill and signed it. Afterwards, he said, “Got it!” and exited the room.

Even though the bill was a huge legislative achievement, his focus was not on himself. He brushed aside the caustic criticisms of Republican Congressmen and women and stayed on a positive note. No chest thumping or snarky comments.

The contrast to his predecessor is striking.

Jarold Wright

Santa Rosa

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