Assembly Candidate for 57th District Roger Hernandez “Walks a Day in the Shoes” of School Police Officer

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT
Terry Carter, Spokesperson
213-700-5617 | tcarter@seiu99.org
Blanca Gallegos, Communications Director
213.387.8393 x219 | bgallegos@seiu99.org
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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Hacienda La Puente School District employees, including School Police Officer Curtis Jung, want to make sure California State Assembly candidate Roger Hernandez understands the importance of their contribution to good public schools. The best way was to let him roll up his sleeves and see firsthand, working a shift with Officer Jung patrolling, managing traffic, strolling campuses, and helping with campus security.

“I’ve already worked for one school district that was forced to eliminate their school police department due to education funding cuts,” explains Officer Jung. “I want to make sure that Mr. Hernandez and others up in Sacramento understand the importance of keeping a school police department instead of contracting it out to a city police force. I am with these kids from Kindergarten through High School graduation. We’ve received different training than other police officers and it really makes a difference.”

Officer Jung and his co-workers are giving Mr. Hernandez a chance to experience what it’s like trying to patrol an entire school district—40 different sites—with only five police officers and 14 security officers.

State legislators make decisions about public school funding. Officer Jung and other District employees are asking legislative candidates to use their campaign platforms to advocate for better education funding, including funding for school police officers who maintain safe campuses and mentor children to avoid gangs and drugs. State budget cuts over years have forced some school districts to eliminate their campus police programs. Others have simply been reduced or never allowed to grow to needed levels. The Governor’s recent budget proposal cuts nearly $2.5 billion more from our schools, which could force school districts to make further cuts.

“I’m proud to spend the day with the men and women who are our local community heroes: those who work hard, play by the rules and contribute in so many ways to the betterment of our community,” said Hernandez, currently a West Covina Councilmember. “In the State Assembly, I look forward to fighting for new opportunities to put more Californians to work and get our economy moving again.”

This is part of a series of “Walk a Day in My Shoes” events inviting all the leading legislative candidates to learn firsthand the impact of budget cuts on student services and school employees. Candidates must part participate in a “Walk a Day in My Shoes” event to be considered for endorsement by workers represented by SEIU.

SEIU Local 99 is a union of more than 43,000 dedicated education workers who guide our children from preschool and kindergarten, through grade school, high school, and at community colleges. We are teachers, paraeducators, custodians, cafeteria workers, bus drivers, first responders, and others working in schools, colleges, and administrative offices throughout Southern California. We are part of SEIU International, the fastest-growing union in North America with 2.1 million members.

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