PALMDALE SETS ANTI-BIAS TRAINING.
PALMDALE -- Racial epithets directed at Latino students at two schools have prompted the Palmdale School District to propose training for teachers and students to prevent name-calling and bullying.
Working with the Anti-Defamation League, selected students from each middle school will be trained to facilitate and lead anti-bias programs.
"Studies show if adults talk to students about issues, they don't listen nearly as much as when students talk to students," said Jenny Betz, project director of the ADL's A World of Difference Institute.
"There is incredible power that comes with peer-to-peer interaction."
As part of their training, teachers and administrators from each school will discuss bias, discrimination, prejudice, bullying, and name-calling -- and how to recognize it and stop it when it happens, Betz said.
Palmdale School District Superintendent Roger Gallizzi said using racial slurs falls under the broad category of bullying.
"Racial slurring is a form of bullying. It's a verbal form of bullying," Gallizzi said. Gallizzi said studies show that more than 20 percent of all middle and high school students in the U.S. reported being bullied, impacting attendance, attitudes and emotional well-being.
The National Institutes of Health reported in 2003 that bullies as well as their victims were at risk for engaging in more serious violent behavior.
The training will be provided at no cost to the district and will be funded by grants from the Jewish Federation Valley Alliance and Wachovia Bank.
The two incidents occurred on the same day last month at two different schools, Summerwind and Oaktree, and were reported to the hotline of the Antelope Valley Human Relations Task Force, task force President Darren Parker said.
The information was forwarded to the school district, which investigated and found that school administrators handled the situations differently.
"It varied from principal to principal as to how to handle name-calling and the use of racial slurs," Gallizzi said.
More than 38,000 students have undergone peer training provided by the ADL's institute since 1991, Betz said. A study by Yale University found that the program was effective in combatting bias on campus, Betz said.
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|Publication:||Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)|
|Date:||Nov 7, 2007|
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