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Foundation Launches HERO Pilot for School Safety

Updated: Jul 18, 2023

Ukiah, CA – November 18, 2019: The HERO safety education program is coming soon to three school districts in Mendocino County serving nearly 1,000 students. Following a full year of research into the program and negotiations with its founder, Safe Kids, Inc., the Mendocino Public Safety Foundation gave the green light to start a three-year pilot to test the effectiveness of this innovative program locally.

At the October meeting, the Foundation’s board unanimously approved a memorandum of understanding with five signatories: Mendocino County Office of Education (MCOE); Safe Kids, Inc.; Arena School Districts; Leggett Valley Unified School District; and Round Valley Unified School District. The Foundation will serve as fiscal agent, Safe Kids will provide training to the schools, and MCOE will work with district administrators to gather data that can assist in determining results of the pilot. Based on that eventual report, the Foundation will consider expansion of HERO countywide.

The three school districts were selected through an application process using criteria determined by the Foundation in collaboration with Michelle Hutchins, Mendocino County Superintendent of Schools. The Foundation will cover the approximately $20,000 project cost. We thank MCOE for their support in this effort.

Initiated by law enforcement officers and educators, the program “is specifically designed to teach K-12 students how to respond to violence with simple, easy-to-remember and truly effective strategies. Based on Empowerment Theory, the H.E.R.O. Program gives students the confidence to respond to any kind of danger…teaches students to overcome these situations by empowering them and instilling confidence in their own decision-making abilities.” For more information visit

The project is a result of our search for an appropriate and meaningful response to the nation’s gun violence epidemic, almost since the Foundation’s 2011 inception. The tragic shooting a year later in 2012 at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut began a dialogue to find a role within our tax-exempt 501c3 charitable mission of public safety that could somehow address this ongoing problem in our society. We are gratified and inspired to work with others creating positive solutions that reach across a diversity of cultures.

Ukiah students rally for gun safety at the Courthouse in March 2018

Posted by J. Orth

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