As the new academic year approaches, our school communities need to take fresh looks at their policies and procedures to protect children from bullying, harassment and discrimination based on race, religion or national origin [“Muslim family sues school,” News, Aug. 17].
These protections, codified in federal legislation by the U.S. Office of Civil Rights, and in state education law with the Dignity for All Students Act, are particularly important in our emotionally charged political world. The challenge is to create educational settings with values of inclusiveness and religious tolerance.
Our districts would be well served to develop systematic approaches and prepare for times when a student’s conduct could endanger others. A comprehensive threat-assessment plan would include investigation by a multidisciplinary team, assessment of potential threats and processes to examine circumstances.
Our goal must always be to create a positive school climate where all children feel physically and emotionally safe, valued and protected.
Alane Fagin, Patti Cathers
Editor’s note: The writers are the executive director and director of program and volunteer services, respectively, for Child Abuse Prevention Services, a volunteer organization that works in the schools.