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MBUSD Set to Become First 'No Place for Hate' District

Nov 18, 2022 10:39AM ● By Mb News Staff
The Manhattan Beach Unified School District is set to become the first school district in the greater Los Angeles region with all of its schools earning the Anti-Defamation League's "No Place for Hate®" designation.

Four MBUSD elementary schools have already earned the distinction, and Pennekamp Elementary, Manhattan Beach Middle School, and Mira Costa High School are slated to receive the same recognition from the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) of Los Angeles upon completion of all program requirements in 2023.

“MBUSD prides itself on its focus on a climate of care on all campuses. I am so proud that our District will be the first in the ADL-LA region to ever have all of its schools receive the No Place for Hate designation,” said MBUSD Board of Trustees President Sally Peel in a statement. “It is evident that our community sees this work as a high priority and is committed to promoting positive change.”

Although MBUSD's first involvement with the program began in 2020, a recent spate of hate incidents on MBUSD campuses seemed to lend greater urgency to the effort.

The No Place for Hate initiative provides a student-led framework to combat bias, bullying, and hatred in the school community. Activities through the program are designed to address school-based issues and create long-term solutions to help build a more inclusive and positive school culture.

Schools that earn the No Place for Hate distinction must establish a committee, sign a school-wide pledge against all forms of hate, and host a series of activities throughout the year that promote and remind everyone to respect one another. Efforts at Manhattan Beach schools have included assemblies celebrating cultural diversity, creating campaigns to spread kindness, and implementing safe spaces such as a “buddy bench.”

"Becoming a No Place for Hate district recognizes our continued commitment to implementing school-wide initiatives and fostering a more inclusive environment,” said MBUSD Superintendent John Bowes in a statement.

Both school and community officials have also repeatedly said that the effort needs to expand beyond the school district. 

On October 6, the Manhattan Beach City Council approved a resolution condemning antisemitism that aligned with the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance's working definition of antisemitism. The school board followed with a similar resolution on October 26.  

A recently formed group called the South Bay Community Coalition of Leaders Against Hate has vowed to work on the effort across the greater community. The group officially launched its "United Against Hate" week on Sunday at Polliwog Park.

Inclusion Efforts Ongoing

Efforts to emphasize inclusion and kindness date back several years at MBUSD. In 2017, MBUSD passed an Inclusion STAND UP Commitment with the goal of ensuring that all staff, students, and their families feel welcome on MBUSD campuses.

During the 2020/2021 school year, Robinson Elementary launched the No Place for Hate effort as a pilot program. The school is now in its third year of the program.

In June 2022, Grand View Elementary, Pacific Elementary, Robinson Elementary, and Meadows Elementary earned their No Place for Hate designation.

Pennekamp Elementary, Manhattan Beach Middle School, and Mira Costa High School are now working towards designation in 2023.

ADL officials say that it is important for schools to undertake the effort at a time when hate occurrences seem to occurring with greater frequency.

“The recent increase in antisemitic and other biased language and behavior demonstrates an urgent need for preventative education to combat hate,” says Megan Nevels, associate education director for ADL in Southern California, in a statement. “We believe that education works as an antidote for hate and can go a long way to building a foundation for understanding and respect for diversity. All students deserve safe and inclusive learning environments and we hope MBUSD’s commitment will be a model for other school districts in Southern California.”

Founded in 1913, ADL's mission is “to stop the defamation of the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment to all,” while fighting all forms of antisemitism, bias, extremism, and bigotry.

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