tv [untitled] November 7, 2013 12:00am-12:31am PST
good morning, everybody. lots of people know each other here, wonderful. it will be a great day. welcome, everybody, welcome to san francisco. to some of you, welcome to the presidio, welcome to this absolutely gorgeous futures without violence center. i want to start by thanking futures without violence and esther solar for giving us this beautiful space to meet in today. is esther here? i haven't seen her. we'll thank her later. they made this space available for us.
good morning, my name is me linda hague for those of you who don't know me. i was appointed by president obama a little more than two years ago to be united states attorney and it is my incredible honor to represent the president, the obama administration here in the northern district of california. welcome to the stop bullying summit. i'm a federal prosecutor so it may seem odd that here we are talking about bullying and we asked all of you to be here and i want to explain the origin of that and why this happened. you people, everybody in this room, has been involved in this issue and is doing incredible work on this issue and we were so honored to be a part of it and to meet with all of you and to speak with you about it. the origin is that as the united states attorney, the administration wants me, wants all the united states attorneys, to go out into the
community. it's actually a very different role for the united states attorney is envisioned by this administration. this administration, the president, attorney general holder, they want the u.s. attorneys to go out into the attorney to talk to the communities in our district to understand what the issues are and challenges are and to do what we can to help, to convene meetings, to do whatever we can to help on behalf of the administration. and as part of that i welcomed that request that the attorney general made of us and the president made of us and as a result i've gone out into my community and my district goes from the oregon border to monteray, and i've met with all kinds of different people. we have 33 indian tribes in the northern district of california, most people don't know, and i've met with those people. i've met with the muslim community, with the siekh american community, with the lgbq community, with the human rights commission in san francisco, all kinds of people,
and we talk about all kinds of things. we talk about things that are more common to the u.s. attorney. we talk about fraud and identify theft and hate crimes and civil rights issue and there's one thing that comes up in absolutely every conversation that i have had with people in the district, and that was bullying. and it really, it was, it's not surprising to the people in this room, i know. it was not surprising to me but it was troubling to me that in every community that i was meeting with, this was an issue prrp violence, harassment, physical, cyber, social, children on children, this kind of behavior is so disturbing and so troubling and so heartbreaking to so many people. even in this place, even in san francisco, california and northern california, which has got to be if not the most tolerant place in the country
certainly amuck the most tolerance and diverse places in the community, this is what i was hearing out in the community and it's something we wanted to get involved in. and i'm so grateful that as a result of that all of you have agreed to come together to have a conversation about this issue with us included. i can't tell you how much we appreciate it. so thank you very much for being here. as i said, we're grailsd with the presence of everybody who is anybody on this issue. people who have been involved in this issue for a long time who understand it much better than we do, we are here to learn from you and to be part of the discussion. we've got federal, state and local policy makers, elected officials, educators, law enforcement officials and leaders from the private and public sector, all of whom have traveled here from washington, dc from sacramento and all over the bay area. so thank you for being here today.
we are grateful for an opportunity to come together with you to create schools and communities where young people are healthy and safe and feel welcome and they are allowed to learn and they are allowed to thrive. this day is devoted to help all of us deepen our understanding of this issue of the problem through data, through research, through anecdotes, to put real solutions in place, to comply with new state and draw laws on bullying and to measure our progress. it's a promise we want to join you in keeping to our children and our youth in california. some of you know that we started this summit yesterday with a screening of the documentary film, bully, to 3,000 students in san francisco from san francisco's public schools. the superintendent of schools you're going to hear from in a minute, he was there, i know ter theresa sparks was there, i was so proud of san francisco in being there
because the superintendent, he's, you can tell he's a teacher because he took control of that room. there was a thousand people in that room, he had them all raise their hands to quiet them down, it was beautiful. you could see the teacher in him. but i was so proud of being in san francisco because the kids -- kids are kids -- they were warned, you need to be respectful, you need to be respectful of the children that are being depicted in this film, please don't laugh at inappropriate moments, that kind of thing, and the kids were great. the kids were silent and crying when things were really tough and when things were going well for the kids depicted in the film they were cheering. it was a really, really wonderful moment. it was a wonderful way to start off this summit. i'm sure our superintendent will be talking about that. so i want to turn to him, our wonderful san francisco suplt of schools, richard karutz is
here with us. richard began his appointment as superintendent for the san francisco unified school district in july of this year, we're very lucky to have him. he stepped into this position after serving for 3 years as deputy superintendent of instruction, innovation and social justice for our district. he's been a teacher of bilingual social studies and moo*ufk, as i said, you can really tell, a high school principal and school superintendent in nevada. richard's passion lies in advancing educational equity and opportunity for all and we are very lucky to have him here with us here in san francisco. our superintendent of schools, richard karunda >> melinda, thank you so much for that wonderful introduction. i want to welcome you all to a sunny september morning in san francisco, i hope you have your sun block and i also want to welcome home our lieutenant governor, our former mayor,
gachb newsom. it's good to see you, sir. yesterday was a really powerful experience for us in san francisco. we've made a commitment that by the end of october every 6th through 12th grader in san francisco city public schools will have had the opportunity to see bully and not only view that documentary but also go through a rich can urriculum from our teachers understanding the lessons from that movie. we all know a movie in and of itself doesn't make a difference, but i will tell you, we didn't start our approach to understanding it with the movie bully. we're very proud 234 san francisco that we have had an approach based on restoretive practices where we're not about suspending students and getting them out of school, we want
them to understand what the impacts are and the impact it has. we've been a part of restoretive practices now for over 4 years in san francisco but when we heard about the movie bully, and bullying is a phenomenon we can all relate to. as i shared with the students yesterday at hertz theater, when i see the film i can relate to instances when i was bullied as a kid. when i reflect upon being a student in the public schools, i can think about situations where i was a bully, where i said things, where i did things, when i went with the crowd, and i shared that with students yesterday. for me it was a very reflective time and i'm sure as everyone has seen the film it's been very reflective as well. but we started our school year this year saying we cannot have students learn, if we truly believe in social justice, and
we do, we believe every student being able to learn is a matter of social justice. but if we can't have environments where students feel comfortable attending school, being comfortable with themselves and in themselves in a school environment we will never have students that are predicated in a way to be able to learn. we have to have safe schools. so what we did this year, when all of our administrators came back from summer break, every administrator from principals to the purchasing manager, everyone saw bully this year. and we spent a full year with our bifl department of student, family and community resources, we spent a full day debriefing that movie and going through a process where we talked about it and it was amazing to see grown adults having these realizations about what bullying meant to them and having a commitment from every administrator in our district that we will not allow that to
happen this year and that will be one of the focus areas this year. so the ability to have these children now watch the movie as well was extremely moving to us yesterday. i just have to share one anecdote from that movie. we had a question and answer session at the end of the movie and lee hirsch was there, unsolicited, he was not a plant, a student stood up, he was probably an athlete, strong, good-looking young man, he stood up and said what can i do when i get back to my school to make a difference? can we start a club, can we have an event, will you support that? it was a superintendent's dream to have a student say, what can i do? we want every student to go back and say we're going to do something and make it part of what we're going to do against bullying. the one thing i will share with you, ladies and gentlemen, this is not an issue that is just a school district issue.
this is an issue that is a community issue. ironically yesterday as we were preparing to have 3,000 students come to 4 or 5 different venues across san francisco to watch this film, the evening before and the morning of the film yesterday we were in very close communication with the superintendent in marin county schools because there had been an incident where some pictures had been posted on facebook that were very compromising pictures of a young student and she had information that the student was distraught, might even be suicidal, they didn't have a lot of information, we had a list of names so she contacted us, we got into gear, tried to find who this student was, we didn't know whether they were a school district student, we didn't know whether they went to private school, parochial school, we worked closely with the san francisco police department who was
wonderful, jumped in trying to help us track down the student. the bottom line, what i'm trying to get to here, for a period of about 12 hours there were multi agency responses to this. there was school districts and county offices of education and police officers involved and principals and teachers involved trying to find out who this student was who might be suicidal. we found who she is and by yesterday, before that film even started screening for our students, someone had met with that student and her parents and she was safe. and the lesson was not lost on me as i saw all these students coming in yesterday that this is really a community issue, that we have to blur the lines of municipalities, we have to blur the lines of areas of responsibility. it can't be a public school versus private school issue. these are kids and kids transskepbd all of those boundaries that we have created as adults. so it's within that -- yeah, you can clap. that's a good thing.
so it's in that spirit that i welcome you here to the most beautiful city in the world, san francisco, on a very sunny september day, and i really thank you for being engaged in this conversation. this really is the conversation of the future, especially when we think that bullying now doesn't happen just in schools. with the internet and all of the technology that we have, it can happen anywhere. so thank you so much for being here, it's a great honor to host you here and i look forward to a very engaging conversation today. thank you. >> now i want to tell you my fae vifrt very favorite department of justice official. eric holder is my favorite department of justice official. tom perez is my second favorite department of justice
official. we are very honored today that tom perez has come from washington, dc, to give welcoming remarks here at this summit. tom perez is the assistant attorney general of the civil rights division in washington, dc, he was nominated for that position by president obama and sworn in in october of 2009 and we are all the lucky -- we are all very lucky that that happened in october of 2009. tom has spent his entire career in public service and on protecting the civil rights of our most vulnerable people. tom actually joined the civil rights division as a young lawyer and while he was there he prosecuted some of the most significant cases in the country. lawyers in the civil rights division get fanned out to places in the country to handle cases in mississippi and alabama and california and all over and tom was one of those people. he was sent to texas to handle a very significant hate crime case when he was a
young lawyer that involved a gang of white supremacists that went on a killing spree and ended up shooting 3 people and killing one when he was a young lawyer working in the civil rights division. he later served as a top deputy for attorney general janet reno, he was special counsel to ted kennedy and served as the president's advisor on civil rights issues. he was also director for civil rights at the department of human health services. tom, you will find, is passion ate and committed to equality and justice for everyone. tom, more than anyone i know, makes every single day in his life matter, whether it's focused on anti-bullying work, voting rights, disability rights, housing rights, the eighth
amendment, immigration, hate crimes or human trafficking. tom cares about all of those issues to his core and he works every day to make the world a better place. ladies and gentlemen, please welcome assistant attorney general tom perez. (applause). >> good morning, it's an honor to be back here. i got to spend some time last night with my brother who lives down the road apiece, his daughter is a sophomore in high school, she asked me if i wanted to go golfing at the presidio, i said i can't walk that much, i just had my knee replaced. melinda has been an incredible partner, it's a partnership between our partners in the u.s. attorney offices and our partners in state and local government. when i think about the hate crimes cases and the other cases i've done, i've
made friends for life with local law enforcement officers, with local da's and local community leaders who have been our eyes and ears. when i look around this audience i really appreciate the fact you have all the ingredients of reform and improvement. i have had the privilege of serving in the federal government, as melinda described, i've had the privilege of serving in state government as a state cabinet official back in maryland, i've had the privilege of serving as a local elected official and governor -- once a local elected official, always a local elected official. what i learned from that is partnership is what it's all about. if you want to confront the most vexing problems, you have to bring people across an ideological spectrum, you have to include the business community, you have to include our nonprofit, our faith leaders. that's how you get things done, when you bring people together. and i look around this room
and i see that you have already figured that out. i hope some of you had the opportunity to meet lee hirsch because i've done a lot of work with him in the context of our bullying. one of my favorite memories in my experience with lee is that we watched this film together with about a thousand people in sioux falls, south dakota, it was remarkable to watch the reactions of the kids in sioux falls, parents, educators, and we did that same q and a when we were done. i appreciate the wonderful words of your superintendent, that was exactly the dynamic in sioux falls and that's the remarkable thing, superintendent, is that this issue knows no boundaries. this issue knows -- it doesn't know class boundaries, it doesn't know race boundaries, it's an issue regretablely that has been timeless. it seems we
were all too frequently taught that bullying is simply a rite of passage, i went to christ the king grammar school in buffalo, new york, you would go behind the building and settle your scores at the end of the day and that was an accepted way of doing business. but we're learning and raising consciousness that, no, it's not an acceptable way of doing business. i've had conversations with the mother of seth walsh, of people who have literally taken their own lives and as a father of three, this isn't simply an issue of civil rights enforcement, this is something very personal. because i can't imagine the unspeakable grief that parents must go through. i can't imagine the unspeakable grief in murphiesboro, tennessee, when we talk to the leaders in the muslim community and they tell me my kid doesn't want to go to school today because everybody is telling him, go home, you terrorist. i can't
imagine the unspeakable grief in suburban minneapolis when the somali kids are told, you have to go home, you terrorists, get out of our community. they were born here, this is their community. i can't imagine the unspeakable fear in the aftermath of that horrible incident involving the murder outside of milwaukee, wisconsin, and you read the data showing here in the bay area the number of siekh american kids who reported they had been harassed in 2010. so we have a lot of work to do in sioux falls, south dakota, in buffalo, new york, in the bay area, across the country. we're doing just that. and the extent to which the profile of this issue has been raised in recent years i think is a remarkable trib bought to all of you in this room. it's a trib bought to this president. i had the privilege of going to the summit that the president held. he has put his skin in
the game. he has used the bully pulpit of the presidency, he has used the good offices of secretary duncan and the attorney general to make sure we send a very clear message as a federal government that we are all in this together, that bullying is indeed not a rite of passage and as you said so correctly and so eloquently, superintendent, that kids can't learn if they don't feel safe. kids can't learn if they can't be themselves. kids can't learn if they are afraid to turn the corner for fear that somebody is going to hurt them. kids can't learn if they perceive that their teachers and administrators don't have their back when something happens. and that's why we're here. that's why we're together. because we're here to get off the dance floor for a day and on to the balcony, to reflect on what the best practices are, to listen and learn from each other and to do when end of the day, superintendent, i would
respectfully submit, precisely what that kid asked you yesterday, to walk out of here and ask ourselves, what can we do differently and better? what did we learn? how can we apply evidence-based practices to the work that we do? because i've seen some remarkable things going on across this country. i've met, i was in birmingham, alabama, recently and i met a mother whose daughter fortunately did not take her own life but it was such a scare and she's put in place a number of programs and i found myself in awe of her. but at the same time, i come from a family of doctors, actually, i'm the only lawyer. all my 4 siblings were doctors, i promised them i'd never be a plaintiff's personal injury lawyer and i kept my promise. but when i heard this very
earnest person talk about how she's invested so much time and energy into bullying, i found myself asking, how do we know it's working? there are a lot of things that seem intuitively plausible and appear to be anecdotally moving the ball forward, but we need to move beyond that. we need to, among other things, figure out what indeed are practices that work and we need to understand in so doing that what may work in sioux falls may not work in san francisco. we get that. so solutions need to be taylored to local communities, solutions need to reflect the fact that there are many, many dimensions to this issue. let me tell you about the few dimensions that we see in the course of our work. russ land is the assistant attorney general and we've taken partnership to new levels with the department. they have put out guidance on bullying and distributed it to all the jurisdictions around the country because we've often
seen in our work that there are so many superintendents and school leaders that are doing great things, but there are others that either have the wrong policies in place or, quite frankly, don't know what to do. and so what they end up doing is nothing. and we cannot allow the appalling silence of good people to become the status quo, to quote dr. king. we must empower them with the tools that they have and they need to move forward and that is why we spend so much time working together on these issues. we've been to the communities in south philly high school where we saw in one day alone 15 asian students who had to be taken to the emergency room as a result of a persistent pattern of harassment. they didn't speak the king's english. my father spoke ricky ricardo english as well and he would have been a victim of bullying under that circumstance. so we worked with the school
district. we don't focus on the criminal prosecution of the specific bully. that's an important element and we work with our partners in local government on that, but our focus has been on the system's issues, of working with the school superintendents, working with the school districts to create a culture of inclusion, to create a culture where people can be accepted for who they are. we've seen bullying in the context of kids with disabilities, kids who couldn't get off the bus because they were getting beaten up on the bus. the bullying of kids who are lgbq, that's probably our biggest growth area. these are kids who are being bullied because they are different. and in suburban minneapolis we saw quite literally over the
course of a two year period, we saw 6 or 7 kids who took their own lives, six or 7. we can't get those lives back, tragickly, but we can redouble our efforts to be sure no one else has to bear the unspeakable. we see the bullying of latino kids, of african american kids, we see bullying in so many shapes and forms and i've seen it across the country. but i've always seen remarkable and couragous people at work, local law enforcement, local da's, people who are getting out of their lanes. the old paradigm of a da and a attorney and a police officer, you get bad guys, you put them this jail. you know, i'm telling you, i've done a lot of hate crimes cases and i know today's bullies are often tomorrow's civil rights defendants. if we simply wait for that train wreck to occur and prosecute, that's going to be like trying to cure cancer
by building more hospitals. we can't do it that way. we've got to get into prevention mode. we've got to figure out strategies to prevent, we've got to empower school districts, we've got to empower parents, we've got to empower bystanders. when my daughter was bullied in 7th grade, her friends saw it, but they were paralyzed. they didn't know what to do and they did nothing. i don't begrudge thipl for that, they are wonderful kids, but they didn't have the tools to do anything about it. so we work on those issues and we work on those and our local school district was remarkable in their reaction. but in the work that we have done, ruslyn and i across the country, we have seen too many school districts, quite frankly, that have been slow to respond. and that is why we have to come together like this. that is why we have to get out of our lane and understand that we've got to make house calls. we've got to move beyond the traditional paradigm that
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