In response to concerns about bullying and insensitivity toward Muslim students brought on by the Israel-Hamas war, Los Angeles schools have established Sapt Schools.Alberto Carvalho announced on Tuesday statement Affirming that campuses are nurturing and inclusive spaces, the district said it is “committed to providing a safe learning environment free of bullying, discrimination, and harassment.”
Earlier, School Board President Jackie Goldberg issued a clarification to Carvalho after Muslim parents at a public meeting complained that the district’s statement was unfairly unilateral in its support for Israel. (It was attacked by Hamas on October 7th.) More than 1,400 Israelis were killed, mostly in the first attack. More than 5,000 people have been killed in the Gaza Strip since Israel’s retaliatory military response began, according to the Hamas-controlled Gaza Health Ministry and government. united nations
On October 7, shortly after the Hamas invasion, Carvalho posted on social media: We stand united with the United Nations and many other countries in rejecting the recent attacks. ” The first sentence involved a Star of David in the colors of the Israeli flag. The original version of the post said “United States” instead of “United Nations,” but this has been retracted and corrected.
Parents, who estimate about 500 families in the area have ties to Gaza, said the statement targeted their children.
“We are very concerned about the safety of our children,” parent Sumaya Bezrati said during the public comment portion of Tuesday’s school board meeting. “We are documenting cases from LAUSD families and we are inundated with cases.”
After hearing from eight other parents, Goldberg told Carvalho that “no student should be harassed based on ethnicity, religion, race, culture, national origin, or immigration status. “We do not tolerate discrimination of any kind.” ”
This statement needs to be issued immediately, she added. “Because people aren’t hearing the message from us. And that should come from the superintendent.”
Local Jewish families and people with ties to Israel are also experiencing deep sadness and anger, and have expressed displeasure with how others are portraying and explaining the conflict.
Mr. Carvalho’s attempt to find words to describe the human toll of a war with its complexities and conflicting stories has left him and the nation’s second-largest school district with the university’s president, who issued the following statement: It has drawn politicians and CEOs into an area of adversity that they have also experienced. Statements that offend one or both parties.
On Oct. 12, Carvalho posted a broader message on behalf of the district.
“We condemn human rights violations in all forms and everywhere. We stand in solidarity with all people who are subject to violence, terrorism, and oppression. Los Angeles Unified continues to ensure that our schools are safe. We will ensure that the location is[s] We provide resources and services to all Los Angeles Unified families affected by current global atrocities in the Middle East, the Republic of Artsakh, and around the world. ”
The latter reference was to a breakaway republic recently occupied by Azerbaijani forces, causing a humanitarian crisis.
Carvalho then moved to reassure the school community on Oct. 13, saying, “Our commitment to the safety of our students and school community is unwavering.” Schools are and will continue to be safe havens for all. ”
Later that same day, he said: “Our hearts are broken and our spirits are broken by the unimaginable loss of life and those affected by recent events in the Middle East and around the world, especially the children caught in the crossfire. I am angry at this, an unacceptable travesty for the most innocent people in this or any conflict.”
Muslim parents took to the stage Tuesday to talk about classroom discussions that appeared to be one-sided and incidents of harassment.
“These children are starting to show signs of depression after hearing the news that their families have been murdered abroad,” Bezrati said. “Our children need space to talk about their feelings and process the trauma they are experiencing.”
Zore Shayan said her son, a high school student, was afraid to express his opinion during a social studies class where the teacher emphasized solidarity with Israel.
Another speaker, Shahina Khan, said her niece was furious when her high school teacher referred to Hamas as an Islamic terrorist group. Khan opposed linking religious ties to violence, and she said, “No one would ever describe the KKK as an extremist Christian organization.”
Early in the conflict, district authorities sent letters to families aimed at reassuring them all, but only specifically mentioned Israeli sacrifices.
“Los Angeles Unified embraces dignity, humanity, and respect for all cultures, races, and ethnicities,” the letter states. “We are fully committed to everything. We stand in solidarity with the United States and many other countries in rejecting the recent attacks on Israel. Our priority, as always, is security. “We maintain a welcoming school environment and take appropriate and immediate action to respond to any threats to our learning community.”
There was a letter inside Advice and resources How to tackle controversial current events and how to deal with children’s fears. A similar letter was sent to all employees.
Goldberg said the district’s good intentions may have been misunderstood.
“When you look at it being pro-Israel, you can totally understand how families with ties to Palestine would feel,” Goldberg said. “I am proposing that we take a position on anything other than that all children, teachers and all school staff are safe and treated without discrimination based on who they are. It’s not that it’s happening. Given the events in the Middle East, it should have been announced first.”
Goldberg, who is Jewish, added that her response was not based solely on the opinions of the board. She had been receiving messages of concern from voters for some time.
As events unfold in the Middle East, both anti-Semitic and anti-Muslim acts have been reported in the United States. A Muslim boy was killed in an alleged hate crime in Illinois.
At a Los Angeles City Board meeting, one Muslim parent suggested it would be best not to discuss the conflict at all, but other parents disagreed.
in him latest communicationProfessor Carvalho said: “As we grieve the loss of life and feel the pain and suffering brought on by increasing global conflicts, it is essential that we remember the important role we all play for our students. “It is about guiding students to deal effectively with challenges.” This may be particularly stressful for those who have direct connections to the communities involved. ”
“Psychiatric social workers, counselors and others listen to students’ concerns and connect them with the resources they need,” he added.
In a recent interview, Carvalho noted that police patrols have been increased around schools to ensure physical safety, particularly in schools that are likely to be targeted, such as near religious sites.