One of the key reasons people choose to live in Hesperia is because the public schools have a reputation for being safe learning environments. As I've shared earlier, that's exactly why I am a resident here -- so my child could go to Ranchero Middle School and now Sultana High, where she's a junior.

For the last several years, the point person for ensuring our children's safety has been Bob Mosley, a former Los Angeles Police Department officer who did a stellar job of overseeing the school district's police department. Not only did Mosley lay down the law, but he often showed a kinder, gentler side. A few years back he was given a county award for spearheading a program that provides gifts to underprivileged youth.

Recently, Mosley passed the torch to Michael Graham, who is serving as interim chief of the school district's police department. I certainly wish Graham the best. The school police chief needs the necessary support to build on the successful program that's already in place.

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It's extremely difficult to change people's perception of a school district. Last week two youths were stabbed at a soccer tournament at Granite Hills High School in Apple Valley. Many of us thought, "I didn't know Apple Valley had that kind of problem."

A few days later, two 18-year-olds and a 17-year-old were arrested for the crime. But a San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department Apple Valley station detective pointed out that "none of the participants in the fight were from Granite Hills High." Both of the suspects are from Victorville, according to the report.

While we don't yet know whether the two suspects are currently enrolled in a Victorville high school, that wouldn't surprise many of us. Our perception is that Apple Valley schools are relatively safe while Victorville's are not. That perception, whether it's always warranted or not, haunts Victorville.

We need to do whatever it takes - and that includes putting personality issues aside - to make sure Hesperia's schools continued to be regarded among the safest in the Victor Valley.