Published January 24, 2023

Dear Members of San Mateo County’s Education Community,

As we were still processing the mass shooting in Monterey Park over the weekend, tragedy struck again, this time in our county, in the picturesque coastal community of Half Moon Bay, the town I call home. Seven members of the community were murdered, one was hospitalized, one is now in jail, and the lives of so many more shattered. Children, our county’s most precious treasure, were at the scene and witnessed horrific violence.

We don’t have answers as to why this happened, and when we learn of a motive, it will offer no explanation or justification that could ever match this unthinkable loss or the challenges of our long, painful road of recovery ahead.

While we weren’t able to avert yesterday's senseless violence, our countywide school safety protocols were put into action with an immediate focus on keeping our students and staff safe. Fast-acting district and school leaders employed the Secure Campus protocol at their schools, which aims to keep intruders out while maintaining calm on campus. County leaders kept me informed, so I could in turn help keep our school communities aware of both the unfolding events and the notification for release. Before the day was out, the Cabrillo Unified School District, which serves Half Moon Bay, had counselors and a plan in place to support their students and school community, and the La Honda-Pescadero Unified School District efficiently completed their late bus routes to get everyone safely home. The San Mateo County Office of Education, our school communities, the county’s behavioral health partners, State Superintendent of Instruction Tony Thurmond, and other caring individuals and organizations are rallying support, intent to provide what is needed.

While this message is not intended to serve as a consolation for the scourge of gun violence that rained down on San Mateo County yesterday – nothing can do that – it does attempt to mobilize our caring response and encourage us to circle up around our coastside community in this tragic circumstance. Our leaders across systems will be keenly focused on the needs of our community’s children, youth, and families, and the County Office of Education will continue to be vigilant in our school safety preparedness, practice, and protocols. Let’s harness all the kindness and love we can muster and share it with those around us, with friends and strangers, in ways big and small.

If you would like to offer your support, below are some avenues to do that. If you would like help in how to speak with children and youth about yesterday’s violence, here are some resources to help you do that.




Nancy Magee
San Mateo County Superintendent of Schools


Organizations Mobilizing Support for Half Moon Bay Community

Coastside Hope
Collecting donations to support the farm families that were directly impacted

Collecting donations to support those in the community who were directly impacted