Addressing Bias and Hate in Schools

During the 2019-20 school year, the San Mateo County Civil Grand Jury released a report examining how San Mateo County schools are responding to incidents of hate occurring on school campuses. Although the report found a limited number of documented incidents of hate behaviors, it also clearly reflects the voices of students sharing that incidents of harassment and hate, “occurred with some regularity.”

The report recommends that school districts create clearly written anti-bias policies that ensure students are safe from harm and prepare administrators to act swiftly and decisively. In response, the County Office of Education held an Anti-Hate and Anti-Bias Policy Symposium to support district administrators in creating policies to address hate speech and behavior in their school communities.

Creating a District-wide Policy

A strong district anti-hate and anti-bias policy guides district and school actions and decisions, promotes a positive and inclusive school culture, sets the standard for acceptable and unacceptable conduct, and establishes the value, ethics, commitments, and social responsibility of the school and district. 

Below are resources to help districts get started.

Uniform Complaint Procedures Monitoring

Local educational agencies (LEAs) are responsible for creating and maintaining documents for their own board-approved UCP process that follows specifications as required by law, particularly the California Code of Regulations, Title 5 (5 CCR) sections 4600-4694, revised and published July 1, 2020.

The California Code of Regulations (Title 5, Section 4600 et seq.) requires the districts, among other things, to adopt and publish procedures referred to as the Uniform Complaint Procedures (UCP) that provide for prompt and equitable resolution of discrimination, harassment, intimidation, and bullying complaints. The district must notify students, employees, and parents, as well as others, of its local complaint procedures and identify the person or persons responsible for processing complaints.

California Department of Education Resources

Niambi Clay

Executive Director, Equity, Social Justice and Inclusion

Email: nclay@smcoe.org

Phone: (650) 802-5553