The hate-motivated beating of a young woman student perceived to be a lesbian by classmates at James Monroe High School (“Girl Beaten Over Sexual Orientation, Police Say,” May 16) is part of an on-going, larger pattern, not, as school officials described it, a unique or “isolated” incident.
The fact is, most attacks go unreported, so school officials simply do not know how many there are.
There are, happily, some unique things about this incident: First, it came to school official’s attention (most don’t because victims are too afraid to report); second, the school acted swiftly to address the situation (again, this is not typical, and Monroe administrators should be applauded), and, finally, a community organization was brought in to address the broad issues and prejudices that led to the assault.
This episode demonstrates both how far the Los Angeles Unified School District has come in responding to the needs of all students and how far it has yet to go in ensuring that its schools are sanctuaries for learning and growth. The district must make every effort to make sure that all of its schools understand and respond to these issues as well as Monroe did.
Then it must go a step further and work on ways to prevent hate violence from breaking out in the first place.
JEFFREY KIM, Safe Haven Anti-Violence Project Program Manager, L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center