Monday, April 11, 2011

NEWS RELEASE -- San Diego Unified, Community Work Together to Ensure Safe Learning Environment for All Students

NEWS RELEASE from the San Diego Unified School District, April 11, 2011


Board to Consider New Bullying Policy Language; Support of AB 9, Seth¹s Law

SAN DIEGO -- The San Diego Unified School District Board of Education will
take another step forward in its commitment to provide all students and
staff with a safe learning environment at its April 12, 2011 meeting. The
Board will consider the district¹s proposed Bullying, Harassment and
Intimidation Prohibition policy language as developed by the Safe Schools
Task Force. The policy states the district will not tolerate any student or
staff member being bullied (including cyber-bullying), harassed, or
intimidated in any form at school or school-related events (including
off-campus events, school-sponsored activities, school busses, and any event
related to school business), or outside of school hours with the intention
to be carried out during any of the above.

The Safe Schools Task Force was established in October 2010 by the Board of
Education to develop a nondiscrimination policy that ensures a healthier
learning environment for all students, including lesbian, gay, bisexual,
transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) students. The task force is made up of
community members, district leadership, principals, teachers, counselors,
LGBTQ community advocates, elected officials and the faith community.

³The district and community have really come together to make the commitment
that all students will feel safe, welcomed and supported at school,² said
Superintendent Bill Kowba. ³Too many young lives across the nation have been
lost as a result of bullying, harassment and intimidation. I applaud the
Board of Education in taking a leadership role to create a comprehensive
policy that supports and protects both students and staff.²

Upon board approval of the proposed policy language, the Safe Schools Task
Force will begin developing the associated Administrative Procedure for
implementation in the 2011-12 school year.

"To truly create safe schools for all our students requires a concerted
community effort. The dedication and commitment of the Safe Schools Task
Force to the protection of all students has been extraordinary. This policy
will move our district forward in an important and positive direction, and
it would not have happened without the leadership of the Board of Education
and Superintendent Bill Kowba. We look forward to making this historic step
in partnership with the school district," said Dr. Delores A. Jacobs, chief
executive officer of The San Diego LGBT Community Center and co-chair of the
San Diego Unified School District's Safe Schools Task Force.

In addition, the Board of Education will consider a Resolution, put forward
by Trustee Kevin Beiser, in support of California Assembly Bill 9. AB 9,
also known as Seth¹s Law, would require school districts to establish
policies to prevent bullying, be responsive to complaints about bullying,
train personnel how to recognize and intervene in bullying, and make
resources available to victims of bullying. The bill is named after 13-year
old Seth Walsh who tragically took his own life after years of relentless
harassment based on his sexual orientation and gender expression.

³LGBTQ youth are still subject to harassment, intimidation and bullying,²
said Beiser. ³Seth's Law will tighten anti-bullying policies by making sure
all schools have clear and consistent policies, instituting better training
and clearer guidelines for teachers and administrators, and establishing
shorter timelines for investigating claims of bullying. AB 9 will help
create a respectful and safe environment for all students.²

# # #

Linda Zintz
Communications Director
4100 Normal Street, Room 2145
San Diego, CA 92103
Office: (619) 725-5578 | Mobile: (619) 847-6637
Fax: (619) 725-5576 | <>

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