Poway Unified letter warns of 'unsafe' environment - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Poway Unified letter warns of 'unsafe' environment

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8/AP) - One local school district says students and staff are being targeted due to race, religion and political beliefs.
     
It's taking action in a letter to parents, warning of an unsafe learning and working environment.

The acting superintendent of the Poway Unified district sent a letter to all parents urging everyone to prevent bullying after a number of hate crimes on campus after the election. 

The letter comes as a new FBI report shows an increase in hate crimes since the election.

A video shows a student shoving a peaceful protester down a flight of stairs at Ohio State University this week while the victim was giving a speech at an anti-Donald Trump rally. He was arrested for assault, but the protester who was pushed says he hopes the charge against his assailant is dropped.

The Columbus Dispatch reports Tim Adams said Tuesday that it wasn't necessary for police to charge 24-year-old Ohio State student Shane Stanton.

Stanton yelled "You idiot" and pushed Adams on Monday as Adams spoke out against Trump's win.

After video of the encounter was shared widely, reports surfaced that Stanton has Asperger's syndrome. Stanton's father confirmed Tuesday that his son has the condition, a form of autism that often consists of difficulty with social interaction and impulse control.

The Worthington man was charged with misdemeanor assault. Ohio State police haven't said whether the charge will be dropped.

The FBI released a new report on the number of hate crimes in the country and in San Diego County. In the past week, 400 cases of harassment or intimidation have been reported in the US. From 2014 to 2015, hate crimes jumped by 7 percent, while anti-Muslim hate crimes skyrocketed to 67 percent. 

Locally, in our county, religious hate crimes went up by 40 percent last year. 
  
Acting superintendent of Poway Unified, Dr. Mel Robertson, says in a statement: 

We hear so often that families move here and employees want to work in our district because we are an excellent educational institution. One of our hallmarks is the dedicated, diverse, passionate and committed members of our learning community in service to students. Our District prides itself on being a place where all students learn in a safe and caring environment, so that each one can reach their fullest potential.

Unfortunately, since the recent presidential election, it has come to my attention that a few of our staff and students have recently been targeted because of their race, religion, or political beliefs, creating an unsafe learning and working environment. Our students cannot learn when they are afraid or bullied and I know I speak for our full community in saying this cannot continue.
 
Instead, we must continue to work to create a positive culture where every person is respected and valued: an environment where rich dialogue is encouraged amongst our students and staff, but the discourse does not harm a person’s identity or well-being. No matter your perspective, it is vital that no election result changes our commitment to ALL of our students. They depend on each one of us to model and maintain an environment where they can flourish.
 
Our ongoing commitment to your child/ren is that they are in a safe place to learn. A place where words and actions cannot and should not harm who they are. A place where each day provides them the opportunity to work with other students and adults so that each one of them can continue to mature and develop into outstanding leaders and contributors to the community. A place where they are cared for by adults and peers who listen to their needs and understand who they are and support who they want to become. A place where each should be pursuing their passions.

She says many families move to Poway because of the excellent education and diverse staff. She's encouraging dialogue and seeking solutions. 
 
Parents at Poway Middle School say students have been fighting back with kindness. Even creating signs that say kindness is everything. 

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