A Project for Better Journalism chapter
Featured Article, Opinion

The farm is being replaced by Cal-SAFE

Making way for toddlers and babies, the former agricultural program site is to be replaced with a new support facility for teenage parents. California School Age Families Education Program was previously located at San Pasqual High School. However, because of inconvenient location choice for students in the program, it was decided to be relocated.

“Any kind of services we get for our students is great… and it opens up the potential to open up some child development classes,” Assistant Principal Dave Mussatti said.

According to Mussatti there wasn’t enough money for the Agricultural program to continue, so the Cal-SAFE was to replace the Agriculture cite near the student parking lot. The reason for the relocation of the program, was because it was more reasonable for teens to drop their children off here, than going a longer distance to SPHS. Many teen parents transferred to San Pasqual High School because of where the Cal-SAFE center was located. Thus the same would happen here; teen parents would transfer for the availability of Cal-SAFE.

“It’s a huge sore spot to the school, it is right where everyone can see. Fine, the [teen parents] need somewhere to drop off their children so they can attend school, but it was better hidden by San Pasqual. It was better hidden there than it would be here,” Evelyn Martinez, 11, said.

Having the Agriculture program as an elective showed students how to be responsible over an animal of their choice, whether be goats, bunnies or pigs. The students were expected to take care of their animals not only during the week but the weekend too. Many students created bonds with the animals they took care of, even considering them as their ‘children’. When the Del Mar Fair would come around every summer, the students would be able to enter their animals to compete in number of categories. These categories included size, looks and even talents.

“The farm was my second home, [it’s] where I had my second family with my fellow classmates. [It was] my safe place I [could] go when [I was] upset because just being with animals made me happier. The agriculture department was ripped away from us on the last day of school without notice and it tore all of us apart. I’m glad the district is helping others but ripping us apart from a project that helped us with social skills, work experience, community service hours and experience on handling specific animals. It’s a shame to see it go,” Daniela Castro, 11, said.