SDUSD considers set of rules to tackle hate speech


SAN DIEGO (CNS) – The San Diego Unified School District School Board will consider adopting a set of rules at its board meetings on Tuesday in response to an increase in hate speech and unruly behavior at meetings public both local and national.

The board will consider the Code of Civil Discourse, drafted by the National Conflict Resolution Center, at its meeting, which begins at 5 p.m.

More often than not, the unruly or vitriolic speech is delivered in response to hot topics such as vaccination warrants and the mistaken beliefs schools teach critical race theory, officials said.

“It is so important for every public body to be a model of civility and respect at this point in our country’s history, but school boards should always remember that the way we conduct ourselves is a model for our people. students, ”Richard Barrera, president of the United San Diego School Board. said in a statement. “We are grateful to the National Conflict Resolution Center, our long-time partner, for playing a leadership role in advocating that town hall meetings across San Diego County be conducted in a manner that allows for honest, open and respectful dialogue. , even when and especially when we do not agree. with each other. “

According to a district statement, hate speech and disorderly behavior in public meetings has become a major problem for local government bodies nationwide – and this has reduced the ability of public officials to do their jobs and serve. effectively their communities.

The Code of Civil Speech, which was first established by the National Center for Conflict Resolution in 2015, is intended to serve “as a guide to facilitate civil and respectful discussions of opposing views in public meetings.”

“Our democracy depends on our ability as Americans to have civil discussions that constructively express different points of view,” said Steven Dinkin, president of the San Diego-based National Conflict Resolution Center. “Without it, our elected leaders cannot get things done and our communities suffer.

“However, when ground rules are established and followed, it is possible to express opinions on polarizing matters in a civil and respectful manner and to seek solutions that benefit all parties involved,” said Dinkin. “The Code of Civil Discourse is intended to encourage productive conversations on policy matters, regardless of the strength of views on either side, while respecting the First Amendment rights of all participants.”

Last month, in response to a controversial meeting in which some members of the public used racist and threatening language, the county supervisory board approved the same code.

The change for this organization added a series of policies, including:

– Reading of a statement on county policy regarding discrimination and harassment in the minutes during the meeting;

– Prohibit disruptive conduct, including, but not limited to, loud or threatening language, hissing, clapping, stomping, talking overhead or interrupting the recognized speaker;

– Create settings for group presentations allowing them to be given only for land use or jurisdictional matters as well as a maximum duration of four minutes for individual members of each group within 10 minutes maximum;

– Limit public comments to one minute per person if there are more than 10 people wishing to comment, under the brown law;

– Adopt a consent calendar for current or administrative matters for which no debate is planned;

– Ask members of the public to bring their own technology to make presentations; and

– Codify the maintenance of the authorization of remote participation of the public to participate in the meetings of the board of directors.

Earlier this year, the NCRC partnered with UC San Diego to form the Applied Research Center for Civility, the nation’s first-ever research center “dedicated to conflict resolution, civility and reduction of political divisions, ”according to a statement from the center.

Copyright 2021, City News Service, Inc.


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