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Board Affirms Value of Jewish Students, Staff and Families (7-13-2021)

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Silvia K. Martinez, 213-241-8333                             July 13, 2021


Board Affirms Value of Jewish Students, Staff and Families

LOS ANGELES (July 13, 2021) – The Board of Education unanimously approved today a resolution affirming the value of Jewish students, families and employees. It also addressed anti-Semitism in response to the significant rise of hate crimes. Within the boundaries of Los Angeles Unified, approximately 15 percent of the youth population eligible for Kindergarten through senior year in high school is either Jewish or has Jewish family members.

The resolution will ensure that our schools remain safe and welcoming for Jewish students, staff and families. It calls on Los Angeles Unified to update all curriculum and instructional materials to increase understanding of Jewish peoples and reduce anti-Jewish hate, and to provide enhanced training and materials for reporting and responding to hate speech and hate-motivated incidents and crimes. It will also reaffirm the District’s commitment to protecting the right to learn and work in spaces free from bias, discrimination, harassment or violence in any form.

“I am proud to be the Los Angeles Unified Board Member to introduce the resolution that affirms the ‘Value of Jewish Students, Staff and Families,’” Board Member Scott M. Schmerelson said. “I authored this resolution to ensure that Jewish students, employees, families and community members are recognized and made to feel as safe and secure as every other member of the Los Angeles Unified family.”

“We are committed to celebrating each and every student as an individual,” Interim Superintendent Megan K. Reilly said. “We must continue to teach our students that the best way forward is through understanding, kindness and inclusion.” 

“Anti-Semitic rhetoric, intolerance, harassment and violence have no place in our schools and in our communities,” Board President Kelly Gonez, a co-sponsor, said. “I appreciate the opportunity to speak with one voice as a Board against anti-Semitism and to take concrete steps to ensure our Jewish students, families, and staff feel safe and welcomed in our schools.” 

“I am proud to co-sponsor this resolution affirming our support for our Jewish students, families, and educators,” Board Vice President Nick Melvoin said. “As we prepare to welcome all our students back to school after such a difficult year, we have an obligation to ensure that hate of any kind, including anti-Semitism, has no place on our campuses or in our classrooms.”

“As hate speech and hate crimes increase, this resolution reaffirms the commitment by Los Angeles Unified to ensure Jewish students and employees feel supported and safe from any form of anti-Semitism,” Board Member Dr. George J. McKenna III, a co-sponsor, said.  

“Los Angeles Unified must continue to learn and lead, especially against hate and violence in all our communities,” Board Member Mónica García said. “I support this resolution as it states our responsibility to have safe spaces for youth and calls on us to ensure curriculum is responsive to the world today.”

“This resolution confirms that we support our Jewish students and the Jewish Community,” Board Member Jackie Goldberg said. “That’s an important step. But beyond words, Los Angeles Unified must always look for ways to foster a just and equitable environment at our schools, and actively fight against all expressions of discrimination, racism, xenophobia, sexism, homophobia, and anti-Semitism.”

“We stand in solidarity with our Jewish students, staff and community members, and I’m proud to serve in a district that strives for inclusivity and celebrates our diversity,” Board Member Tanya Ortiz Franklin said. “Education has the power to build empathy, learn new perspectives and deepen our value for all cultural, racial and ethnic identities. I'm proud to support this resolution to reaffirm our District’s commitment towards creating safe and welcoming spaces for all.”

“As educators, the members of the Association of Jewish Educators (AJE) are concerned about rising anti-Semitism and its implications for students and employees of Los Angeles Unified. Jewish students, parents or District employees should not have to fear becoming targets of retaliation, derision, bullying, isolation or violence. This resolution allows, by working collaboratively with experts in Jewish history and culture, to enhance curriculum with specific examples of anti-Semitism to increase awareness and to improve reporting and responding to hate-motivated incidents,” Dr. Irina Sugar, President of AJE, said.

“This resolution will assist teachers, administrators, and school staff in educating students and families about how anti-Semitic actions create harm and division in a school community. With updated curriculum and training, we will increase awareness and create safer and more welcoming classroom and school environments,” Dr. Lisa Regan DeRoss, an administrator and AJE board member, said. 

“This resolution has been brought forward during a time where we see many instances of harassment, retaliation, and physical assaults toward ethnic and religious groups protesting for justice and equality for all. The Council of Black Administrators, (COBA) recognizes that an injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere,” Dr. Robert Whitman, President of COBA, said.

“The Council of Mexican American Administrators (CMAA) denounces all forms of discrimination, racism, xenophobia, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, and anti-Semitism and the resulting harassment, vandalism, physical assaults, and violence. No individual or group within our District should fear becoming targets of retaliation, derision, bullying, or isolation,” Dr. Pablo Osorio, President of CMAA, said.

“This is why I fully support this resolution. It is important for students to feel supported and recognized and to know that anti-Semitic acts will not be tolerated. It is equally important for all students to learn about Jewish history in order to help prevent anti-Semitic ideas, which led to the Holocaust, and if left unchecked could do so again,” Sophia Rothman, a rising 9th grader at Los Angeles Center for Enriched Studies, said.