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JCRC’s Proud to be Jewish in the Public Schools November 11, 2012 at Temple Rodef Shalom 2100 Westmoreland Street, Falls Church Presenters Jewish Community.

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Presentation on theme: "JCRC’s Proud to be Jewish in the Public Schools November 11, 2012 at Temple Rodef Shalom 2100 Westmoreland Street, Falls Church Presenters Jewish Community."— Presentation transcript:

1 JCRC’s Proud to be Jewish in the Public Schools November 11, 2012 at Temple Rodef Shalom 2100 Westmoreland Street, Falls Church Presenters Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) of Greater Washington Debra Linick, Director for DC & Northern Virginia 703-893-4007 Steve Adleberg, Educational Outreach Associate, 703-962-9232 Jewish Social Service Agency (JSSA) – Northern Virginia Office Andrew McGahan, LCSW/LICSW, Clinical Director, 703-204-9100 Partnership for Jewish Life and Learning (PJLL) Avi West, Resource Center Director, 240-283-6200

2 Proud to be Jewish: Today’s Agenda Learning about the Jewish resources in your community (JCRC) Addressing incidents / holiday conflicts collaboratively with the schools (JCRC) Understanding Guidelines on Religious Expression at Public Schools (JCRC) Dealing with Discriminating or Threatening Behaviors (JSSA) Educating your child (JSSA) Promoting a Positive Jewish Identity in the home (PJLL) Panel Discussion addressing your questions JCRC’s Proud to be Jewish Program Contact: Steve Adleberg, sadleberg@jcouncil.org / 703-962-9232 Page 2

3 Virginia Schools & Tolerance Top rankings for public education Top rankings for anti-bullying policies 2010 law enacts new policy improvements Other initiatives to promote respect for religious diversity and tolerance At schools, in the Jewish community, in homes JCRC’s Proud to be Jewish Program Contact: Steve Adleberg, sadleberg@jcouncil.org / 703-962-9232 Page 3

4 Pop Quiz – Question #1 Your school is putting on a nativity play to celebrate the winter season. Is this permissible? What do you do? JCRC’s Proud to be Jewish Program Contact: Steve Adleberg, sadleberg@jcouncil.org / 703-962-9232 Page 4

5 Pop Quiz – Question #2 A group of high school students wants to meet during lunchtime for Bible study. Is this permissible? JCRC’s Proud to be Jewish Program Contact: Steve Adleberg, sadleberg@jcouncil.org / 703-962-9232 Page 5

6 Equal Access Act Free expression vs. limits on time, place and manner May not disrupt instruction Equal access for religious groups vs. proselytizing JCRC’s Proud to be Jewish Program Contact: Steve Adleberg, sadleberg@jcouncil.org / 703-962-9232 Page 6

7 Pop Quiz – Question #3 For a homework assignment, students are required to illustrate their winter break activities. Debbie draws a picture of her family lighting the Menorah. The teacher posts the class’ work on a bulletin board. Should she include Debbie’s picture as well as those of her classmates who drew their families at mass? JCRC’s Proud to be Jewish Program Contact: Steve Adleberg, sadleberg@jcouncil.org / 703-962-9232 Page 7

8 Understanding Your Resources Federal, State, and Local School Board Policies, Regulations, and Guidelines School teachers / guidance counselors / administrators Outside resources: your synagogue & JCRC JCRC’s Proud to be Jewish Program Contact: Steve Adleberg, sadleberg@jcouncil.org / 703-962-9232 Page 8

9 Government Guidelines Teaching about Religion Freedom of Speech Access to Facilities Ceremonies and Observances Absences / Class Attendance Anti-harassment Teaching of Controversial Topics Curriculum JCRC’s Proud to be Jewish Program Contact: Steve Adleberg, sadleberg@jcouncil.org / 703-962-9232 Page 9

10 Best Approaches for Best Outcomes A safety plan for your child Penalties for offenders – not necessarily in your control Collaborate; don’t aggravate Cultivate positive outcomes – e.g., taking advantage of “teachable moments” Build important relationships Work up the Chain of Comman d JCRC’s Proud to be Jewish Program Contact: Steve Adleberg, sadleberg@jcouncil.org / 703-962-9232 Page 10

11 Summary Setting realistic expectations & identify concrete outcomes For holiday conflicts Students shouldn’t be penalized for religious observance Your school district’s policies should say that – know the policies when raising an issue For religious expression Guidelines on free expression vs. limits on time, place & manner Equal access for religious groups vs. proselytizing Recognizing holidays vs. celebrating holidays For incidents A safety plan for your child A teachable moment? Penalties for offenders – not necessarily in your control Collaborate; don’ JCRC’s Proud to be Jewish Program Contact: Steve Adleberg, sadleberg@jcouncil.org / 703-962-9232 Page 11

12 When incidents happen … Notice the signs: changes in your child’s behavior Understand the Situation when / where did it happen? who was there? what was the response Understand your resources school teachers, guidance counselors / administrators involving outside resources: your synagogue & JCRC can help Communicating positively with your school And when your child needs additional supports… JCRC’s Proud to be Jewish Program Contact: Steve Adleberg, sadleberg@jcouncil.org / 703-962-9232 Page 12

13 Understanding Discrimination Anti-Semitism- discrimination against or prejudice or hostility toward Jews. Can be one time incident or ongoing Can be verbal, physical, graffiti, subtle, cyber Can also fall under the definition of Bullying (will be discussed in more detail) JCRC’s Proud to be Jewish Program Contact: Steve Adleberg, sadleberg@jcouncil.org / 703-962-9232 Page 13

14 Understanding Discrimination Curiosity (or lack of knowledge) vs. Discrimination Inquisitiveness by those of other religions or communities General lack of understanding of Jewish holidays, beliefs, customs, or traditions Genuine questions asked by other students (vs. vindictive comments or questions meant to bring about embarrassment, shame, humiliation, or unwanted attention) Sometimes it is important to understand that when questions or comments are made, they are not being done with an intent to harm, embarrass or hurt. Then again, sometimes they are. Knowing the difference is key. JCRC’s Proud to be Jewish Program Contact: Steve Adleberg, sadleberg@jcouncil.org / 703-962-9232 Page 14

15 Bullying vs. Peer Conflicts Bullying consists of behaviors that are: Ongoing Intentional Imbalance of Power Peer Conflicts consists of: Arguments Single episodes Can be unintentional JCRC’s Proud to be Jewish Program Contact: Steve Adleberg, sadleberg@jcouncil.org / 703-962-9232 Page 15

16 Bullying vs. Peer Conflicts Types of Bullying: Physical Verbal Sexual Racial Written (graffiti) Coercion, threatening, intimidation Cyber Social (isolation, exclusion, gossip) JCRC’s Proud to be Jewish Program Contact: Steve Adleberg, sadleberg@jcouncil.org / 703-962-9232 Page 16

17 Educating Your Child Knowing the definitions (Bullying, racism, conflict, ignorance, curiosity) Discussion of what it means to be “different” or a minority Handling the situation Seeking support (Parents, school teacher or guidance counselor, social) Reporting incident (to parent, school or other trusted adult) What should your child do if a trusted adult doesn’t help? Tell another adult until someone does help. Aggressive vs. Assertive Use of role play (in the home) Having a Safety Plan JCRC’s Proud to be Jewish Program Contact: Steve Adleberg, sadleberg@jcouncil.org / 703-962-9232 Page 17

18 What to do If You Think Your Child is Being Bullied Talk with your child. Tell your child you are worried about him/her and that you’d like to help. Ask questions (direct and indirect). Make sure your child knows being bullied is not his or her fault. Discuss ways of dealing with bullies (ignore, humor, assertive, involving others) – what feels most comfortable for the child. Tell your child to report bullying immediately to a trusted adult. Help your child identify someone at school they would feel safe telling. Contact your child’s teacher/school. JCRC’s Proud to be Jewish Program Contact: Steve Adleberg, sadleberg@jcouncil.org / 703-962-9232 Page 18

19 If You Think Your Child May be Being Bullied Do NOT Ask your child to solve a bullying problem themselves. Advise your child to fight back (physically). Try to talk with the bully yourself or set up a meeting between them. Convey to your child that something is wrong with him/her or that she/he deserves the treatment. JCRC’s Proud to be Jewish Program Contact: Steve Adleberg, sadleberg@jcouncil.org / 703-962-9232 Page 19

20 What to Do If You Think Your Child May be Bullying Others Calmly and privately identify bullying behavior, strategize with your child better responses and state that bullying is not an option. Spend more time with child monitor behavior with friends – point out good behavior for praise as well as negative actions. Develop clear and consistent rules and consequences for bullying and reward appropriate behavior. Help your child learn alternative ways to deal with anger and frustration and develop empathy skills. Share your concerns with your child’s school. Listen calmly if contacted by school and work in partnership to resolve issues. Be aware of own behavior. How do you model handling conflict? JCRC’s Proud to be Jewish Program Contact: Steve Adleberg, sadleberg@jcouncil.org / 703-962-9232 Page 20

21 What to Do if Your Child Witnesses Bullying… Brainstorm with your child what his/her options are for handling situation. Reinforce that you do not condone bullying and your child should not join in. Reinforce the idea that there is power in numbers. Get your child to be a proactive witness (by, at minimum, reporting). Support the difference between tattling and telling. Help your child report the incidence to the appropriate school administrator. JCRC’s Proud to be Jewish Program Contact: Steve Adleberg, sadleberg@jcouncil.org / 703-962-9232 Page 21

22 Positive Jewish Identity Positive Jewish Identity (year round) Self- Esteem Modeling in the home Family Identity/Jewish values Educating the Community (hosting Seders, talking to coaches, extra-curricular activities) JCRC’s Proud to be Jewish Program Contact: Steve Adleberg, sadleberg@jcouncil.org / 703-962-9232 Page 22


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