DENNIS FOX : Principal, Culver City Middle School, Culver City

Compiled for The Times by Erik Hamilton

We are in the process of investing in a program called A World of Difference, which we hope to have in operation by early next year. Essentially, what this curriculum addresses is racism and prejudice and how they operate in society and what can be done to cultivate a better understanding between the various cultural and ethnic groups in our country. It (A World of Difference) allows students to get to know each other and helps them better understand their differences. Like other schools, we already have programs in place to recognize special leaders like Martin Luther King Jr., for example. However, we, and I mean all of our teachers and counselors, believed we needed something more.

Our society today is a very rich tapestry of multiethnic peoples. For the future leaders of our country, we must make every effort now to promote better understanding. And while this education process should begin in elementary school, it’s not too late to teach this when children are in junior high school--where they really start forming and solidifying their values and ideals about themselves and the people around them. It’s also a good time because they are intellectually capable of handling the information. Ethnic understanding and the elimination of racism are ongoing processes.