District seeks broader anti-bullying curriculum
Officials at Alameda Unified are initiating efforts to broaden the district’s anti-violence curriculum so that it specifically addresses bullying based on race, religion, disability and other characteristics protected under state law.
District officials want to convene a committee of community members, parents and district staff to look into creating a broader-based anti-bullying curriculum that is “more explicitly inclusive of all the protected classes,” according to a staff report to be presented to the school board at its meeting Tuesday night.
Many of the parents who opposed elementary school lessons that specifically addressed anti-gay bullying said they felt the district wasn’t going far enough to stop bullying based on race and other factors, and they said the district’s own statistics showed that such bullying was still a problem, regardless of the district’s existing anti-violence curriculum.
Superintendent Kirsten Vital had said in May when the anti-gay bullying lessons were approved by the board that she would review the district’s anti-bullying curriculum to make sure it was addressing the needs of all of the district’s students.
A group of Alameda residents is seeking to recall three school board trustees who voted in favor of the lessons because, they said, the lessons excluded instruction to protect students who are bullied based on their race and ethnicity, gender, disability, nationality and religion. And another parent who wrote a formal complaint to the district said she wanted district officials to create a committee to rethink the lessons.
District staff working on a supplemental guide to the curriculum determined that while it was a “good first step,” it “was not explicit in addressing all the protected classes.” So they want to create more inclusive lessons.
The new curriculum would also establish “clarity and guidelines” to ensure that the lessons don’t constitute health education. A group of parents just sued the school district for denying their requests to opt out of anti-gay bullying lessons, saying the lessons are health education, which they have the legal right to skip.
More to come.