A vital community resource has come to Lake Los Angeles


Lake Los Angeles – In operation now in the Wilsona School District is PESA: Parents Educators Teachers & Students in Action.

At the regular monthly meeting March 19, 2020 of the Wilsona Board of Trustees one of the action items that was to be approved was the Parent Educator/Teachers and Students in Action (PESA) Agreement. The Board voted unanimously to approve.

The purpose of this Community Resource is to assist the Wilsona School District in reducing incidents of inappropriate behavior by the students who attend a school in the district, educate the parents on how to be responsible respectful partners in their child’s education, to provide additional resources to the School District, students and parents associated with the School District. This will be accomplished by PESA establishing and staffing a Community Resource Center on the school grounds of Challenger Middle School or another mutually agreed facility owned or leased by the School District. Hours of operation will be Tuesdays and Thursdays from 1:30 pm to 6:00 pm.

Trained Community Resource Specialists will be provided by PESA and will be available during the operating hours of the Community Resource Center. The Community Resource Specialists will accept referrals for students in need of services. Referrals will be accepted from school personnel concerning education code violations, inappropriate behavioral issues, and a lack of educational performance due to mental health related issues.

PESA had a location in Palmdale but could not properly serve the Wilsona students. Palmdale was not geographically suited to service this community. Transportation issues were a major factor. Seymour Amster, Executive Director of PESA said, “The only way we can properly serve the Lake Los Angeles community and assist educators by addressing the behavioral issues of the students referred to us is to have a location to meet with the students and their parents in the Lake Los Angeles area. PESA views this as an immediate and urgent needs in order to serve the students referred to PEA by the District.

“LLA is primary on my screen. I am very, very concerned about the lack of resources, and I am not happy with the lack of services and lack of response by government entities. My vision is parallel with that of CMS Principal Mrs. Handzel’s to have meetings with governmental entities in Lake LA.

“In Lake LA we need to bring people together who are emotionally disagreeing with each other and not willing to listen to another’s point of view. I experienced this in Lake LA. I learned so much from that experience. When faced with a hostile crowd, I compare that to sailing against the wind. What one can do is hang on tight to the rudder and wait for the wind to go away and then you can steer the boat to safe harbors. The wind will go away! Now we can work together to solve our LLA issues.”

Amster said in regard to his experience, “I organized the Lake Los Angeles Park Organization and was its first president. I led the negotiations with the County to create the park and the original funding infrastructure for it. My purpose for being in Lake Los Angeles is to assist the residents in the community in obtaining the services they need especially the youth, and to advocate on their behalf when I can.

“I want LLA folks to listen to other points of view, come together and learn how to have discussions with other people who disagree. I am thrilled to be back in Lake Los Angeles. I feel this is my full circle. LLA gave me experience and knowledge to be where I am today. We can bring resources to the community. We have resources and strike in the Antelope Valley. We can change how things are done. As adults we are leaders obligated to teach our youth to handle situations, to respect opinions and thoughts. When people do not have that respect and appreciation for thoughts of others, our most vulnerable people suffer.”

Trained Community Resource Specialists will be provided by PESA and will be available during the operating hours of the Community Resource Center. The Community Resource Specialists will accept referrals for students in need of services. Referrals will be accepted from school personnel concerning education code violations, inappropriate behavioral issues, and a lack of educational performance due to mental health related issues.

Suspension and expulsion are widely used in the US to respond to problematic behavior. But evidence shows these tactics are not effective in changing a student’s conduct and carry major long-term risks for their welfare. Students most affected, the most vulnerable of our people, tend to be those with higher and more complex needs, such as those with disabilities and mental health issues. Research shows students who are expelled have a higher future risk of engaging in criminal and anti-social behavior, or consuming drugs. Excluded young people, again our most vulnerable members of society, also have much lower odds of a stable, productive adult life.

It is the anticipation of PESA that additional services that will benefit the School District, the personnel of the School District, the students of the School District, the parents of the students of the School District and the community as a whole will be identified. In order to accomplish this and other needs of the district, PESA is prepared to make available PESA’s team of grant writers to assist the School District in writing and obtaining grants.

With the consistent collection of data and analysis of that data, PESA will modify some components to ensure the best results and reduction of inappropriate behavior. With increased parental support, the student achievement will be enhanced.

Amster added, “We will learn what the root cause of the behavior is, identify the trauma and get families involved. I truly want to provide resources the community of Lake Los Angeles really needs.”