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Morning Lookout: SRO program reinstated by PVUSD board; new revelation about Aptos High suspect

Good Morning! It’s Thursday, September 16 and you can expect patchy fog before 10 a.m. with an otherwise cloudy morning that will gradually clear up to a high of 64.

New this morning: An explosive special meeting of the Pajaro Valley Unified School District saw a controversial school resource officer program reinstated for Aptos and Watsonville high schools. Meanwhile, Sheriff Jim Hart confirmed exclusively to Lookout yesterday that one of the suspects in the Aug. 31 fatal stabbing of an Aptos High student was involved in another on-campus altercation just weeks prior — something that he said the district didn’t inform his office about.

There’s a lot to cover so let’s get to it:

PVUSD Board votes to return SROs to campuses but with twist: Officers to pair with mental health clinicians

The scene at the Henry J. Mello Center on Wednesday night.

After hours of comments from impassioned community members last night, the Pajaro Valley Unified School District voted 6-1 to reinstate the controversial School Resource Officer program at Aptos and Watsonville high schools. But, according to District Superintendent Michelle Rodriquez, the job of SROs will not look as it did previously. Read more about what transpired and what’s changed from our Hanna Merzbach here.

EXCLUSIVE: Sheriff confirms previous incident involving murder suspect in Aptos High stabbing

Santa Cruz County Sheriff Jim Hart speaks at Tuesday night's news conference.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

The Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office told Lookout’s Mark Conley and Hanna Merzbach yesterday that one of the suspects in the tragic August 31 on-campus murder of an Aptos High School senior had been involved in another on-campus altercation just weeks prior. Further, officials said that the incident was not reported to them at the time by the school district. Read the full scoop here.

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Cabrillo in-person students, staff had midnight Wednesday deadline to submit vax proof

Cabrillo College
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

Students, staff and faculty who need to be on campus for Cabrillo College’s hybrid fall semester had a Wednesday night deadline on the school’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate that could cost them access to school facilities. Students who haven’t yet uploaded proof of vaccination or proof of an exemption will be at risk of being dropped from their in-person classes and faculty will be subject to disciplinary action. Read more from our Haneen Zain here.

California recall election results closely linked to COVID-19 vaccination rates


A closer look at county-level results in the recall election reveals a strong relationship between the governor’s support and COVID-19 vaccination rates. Counties with the lowest vaccination rates were most eager to oust Newsom. Conversely, those with higher vaccination coverage supported the governor at higher rates. Read more from the data analysis conducted by the LA Times here.

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Here’s how Santa Cruz County voted

Election clerks monitor the action on Tuesday.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

The lead-up to Tuesday’s gubernatorial recall election elucidated a great divide among Californians, but Santa Cruzans came out to overwhelmingly vote “no” against recall. Local numbers outpaced opposition to the recall across the state and approximately 44.79% of Santa Cruz County’s registered voters made their voice heard in this special election. Read more insights from our Grace Stetson here.

California’s costly, confusing recall sparks an effort to rethink the rules

Students, staff and nearby residents cast their ballots at UCLA Ackerman Union

The rules governing recall elections in California will be subject to new scrutiny and possible changes, as two state legislators said yesterday that the failed effort to remove Gov. Gavin Newsom from office was too costly and needlessly confusing. Lawmakers agreed to spend at least $276 million in the most recent state budget to cover the costs of the recall, but some estimate the final tab will be closer to $300 million. Read more here.

Around the county...

County Supervisors ban ‘discriminatory reports’ to law enforcement (The Pajaronian)

Santa Cruz County Fair: Where to buy tickets and what to expect (KSBW-TV)

Two corrections units closing in Santa Cruz County (KION-TV)

That’s it for today. If you’re enjoying our coverage, please tell your family and friends about our Lookout Newsletter & Text Center, where they can sign up for all the newsletters and alerts we offer. You can also keep tabs on everything we’re publishing through the day by bookmarking our website and following us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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Have a great day!

Tulsi Kamath
Lookout Santa Cruz

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