OCDE will co-host two forums exploring impact of hate incidents on students, school communities

OCDE is partnering with the Orange County Human Relations Commission to host two forums in January that will explore the impact that hate has on students and the school community.

“Building A Stronger, United Community By Addressing Hate-Motivated Incidents in Schools” will bring together law enforcement, local nonprofits and community members to openly address hate-motivated incidents and share strategies for supporting students in safer, more connected campuses.

Students inspect "The Courage to Remember" traveling Holocaust exhibit
The Simon Wiesenthal Center’s “Courage to Remember” traveling Holocaust exhibit was on display for students at Edison High School in Huntington Beach in November 2018.

“Our county’s strength is rooted in its diversity and the shared values of kindness and compassion, and it is essential that we respond loud, clear and unequivocal to any acts of hate or intolerance in our schools and communities,” said Orange County Superintendent Dr. Al Mijares. “These forums give us an opportunity to learn from multiple perspectives while at the same time speaking out in a united voice in support of human dignity and safe learning environments for our students.”

Students, families and community members are encouraged to attend the first forum from 6 to 8 p.m. on Jan. 7 at the Orange County Department of Education, located at 200 Kalmus Drive in Costa Mesa. Attendees can register at tinyurl.com/ochrc-community-forum.

Educators, counselors and school administrators are invited to attend a second forum that will take place from 8 to 10 a.m. on Jan. 22. Guests can register for that event at tinyurl.com/ochrc-educator-forum.

In addition to serving some of Orange County’s most vulnerable student populations, OCDE provides support to 27 school districts serving approximately 480,000 students. To help improve school climates, the department offers bullying prevention trainings, deploys a crisis response team to schools, works with districts to analyze student survey data, and oversees on-campus programs that empower students to make positive changes.

OCDE also launched a One Billion Acts of Kindness campaign and is leading the statewide implementation of the Multi-Tiered System of Support framework, which is designed to support the academic, behavioral and social-emotional needs of each student.