Stockton Unified’s school safety program coordinator, back on the job after a 15-month layoff and just three months after an intruder fatally stabbed a Stagg High student, says he’s picking up where he left off on making campuses secure.
“The No. 1 (priority) is site security on our campuses as far as infrastructure, physical security,” Marcus Omlin told Stocktonia. Omlin’s job puts him in charge of planning and updating public campus safety plans in Stockton’s largest school district. That, he says, was the last project he worked on before he was laid off.
While Omlin was gone, no one was in charge of the updating and maintaining safety plans he put in place. Omlin said the plans were “probably just ignored” during his absence.
According to California State Assembly Bill 1747, county departments of education are required to post comprehensive safety plans. The bill states individual schools need education, prevention and responses to natural and manmade hazards, according to the California Department of Education.
An emergency services school safety coordinator is in charge of reducing the threat to students and faculty members on school campuses. This position is in charge of managing the district’s comprehensive emergency preparedness program and assisting as a key liaison, team member, operator and first responder in the event of an emergency, according SUSD’s description of the job.
Omlin was laid off in a mass-termination of positions on April 27, 2021. Omlin worked as the emergency services school safety coordinator for eight years before his termination.
Fifty-five employees were let go because of “lack of work and/or lack of funds”, according to district records. A list of jobs the school board voted to eliminate includes the director of labor relations and a parent involvement specialist.
Omlin was reinstated as the emergency services school safety coordinator on July 26, 2022, according to district records.
Omlin created 22 safety guidelines and regularly hosted safety training sessions for all staff in the district before the layoff, he told Stocktonia. His work covered topics such as threat assessments, active shooter and intruder situations, water outages and more.
Three safety threats to SUSD students occurred in 2022 around the time Omlin was reinstated.
Interim Superintendent Dr. Traci E. Miller said, in an email statement, the district brought Omlin back as “an indication of our commitment to ensuring we are keeping student’s safety as a top priority.”
On April 18, Stagg High School student Alycia Reynaga, 15, was stabbed and later died of her injuries, according to the Stockton Police Department. Officers arrested Anthony Gray, 52 in connection with Reynaga’s stabbing death, according to the police department on Facebook. He faces felony murder and other charges.
On Aug 22, an unhoused person apologized for jumping a fence into Stagg High School, according to KCRA. The man claimed he was looking for shade and was escorted off the campus.
On Sept. 8, Eddie Joe Curry, 34, was arrested at Merlo Institute, a high school for environmental studies, for possession of four firearms, according to Stockton police on Facebook. Curry faces three felony charges without bail for being a felon and addict in possession of a firearm, ammunition and a loaded concealed weapon, according to the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s office.
“I’m working on sustainability after I leave, for the program. (I) want to make sure that everything that’s probably living here at the district office, in a crate, is accessible to key individuals in multiple departments,” Omlin said.
Since returning, Omlin is working to create a collection of the plans he can recreate and revise for the next coordinator, he told Stocktonia.
Eventually, Omlin plans to install gates and cameras for accountability and safety purposes on all high school sites in the district. Staff would be required to show badges and be buzzed into campus during school hours, Omlin said.
Recently Omlin has been meeting with parents, faculty and students. Omlin encourages any community member with “solution oriented” suggestions to reach out to him directly at momlin@StocktonUSD.net or 209-933-7070, extension 2702.