Lincoln High hosts communications program for students, parents, police

Posted: Tuesday, December 1st 2015

Lincoln student Lizabeth Contreras speaks to media.

New and improved relationships between Lincoln High students and local residents, and local police have been celebrated by regional and national officials.

Students and staff at Lincoln High School welcomed Superintendent Cindy Marten, County Supervisor Greg Cox, San Diego Unified and San Diego police departments, the National Conflict Resolution Center (NCRC) and Lincoln Park residents recently to celebrate the conclusion of an innovative pilot program helps build closer ties between police and residents.

The Art of Inclusive Communication brought together more than 40 Lincoln High School students and parents with officers from the San Diego Unified School Police and the San Diego Police Department’s Southeast Division for a four-part training program focusing on strengthening communication, sharing experiences and changing perceptions.

"The lessons that these officers, parents and students have learned together about inclusive communication is education at its finest,” said Cindy Marten, San Diego Unified School District Superintendent. “This helps prepare our students and develop the skills to succeed and thrive in this multicultural society.”

The workshops were funded by the county in support of its Live Well San Diego vision, and were facilitated by the National Conflict Resolution Center, which has more than 30 years of experience in conducting communication and conflict management.

“I am inspired by the work that has gone on at Lincoln High,” said San Diego County Supervisor Greg Cox. “The vision of bringing together not only students, but their parents as well, to meet with and learn from local law enforcement helps create the kind of community that all of us want to live in and feel proud of.”

The trainings focused on understanding different perceptions and strategies for finding common ground to work through conflicts.

“Through the interactive, collaborative exercises, police officers and citizens explore their own personal and cultural identity, and learn how individual identity relates to communication style,” said NCRC President Steven Dinkin. “By examining how these different styles can sometimes be the root of communication breakdown, trainees learn to recognize when a communication breakdown is happening and what to do about it.”

The workshops included officers and Lincoln High School students in two of the trainings and officers and adult residents in the other two trainings.

“Effective policing begins with effective communication,” said San Diego Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman. “Our primary job as police officers is to keep the peace. That involves listening to the concerns of the community and learning how we can serve residents better.”

The County’s Live Well San Diego vision focuses on supporting residents to build better health, live safely and thrive.

“This program embodies what we are aiming to achieve as a region through Live Well San Diego,” said County Health and Human Services Agency Director Nick Macchione. “Trust and communication are the building blocks to strong communities that support healthy, safe and thriving residents.”

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