Alameda schools, the anti-bullying curriculum

It would have been hard not to notice that there’s been a lot of heated discussion in Alameda about a proposed addition to the Alameda Unified School District’s anti-bullying curriculum. The Alameda Journal last week ran comments in support and against it.

Local Blogger Lauren Do has been tracing what specifically the curriculum will look like. And, for those of you interested, you can always find heated discussion in the comments on Do’s blog. Sometimes commentors make sense, sometimes they don’t. Sometimes they’re nasty and contradictory, sometimes they’re not.

Opposition to the proposed curriculum runs the gamut. From those who believe that homosexuality is a sin, to those who fear that sexual terms will be introduced at too young an age. You can see all the lessons here. The Rev. Laura Rose, pastor of Alameda’s First Congregational Church, wrote this in a letter to the editor:

For those who object to this sort of curriculum on the basis that it is against a specific set of religious or moral beliefs, I would simply say that respect and tolerance for all people as children of God is the unifying and core principle of every world religion.

But more importantly, equality is the core principle of our Constitution and I believe a curriculum that enables children to see all people (and themselves) in a positive light is critical to AUSD’s mission of making Alameda a safe and welcoming place for all children and all families.

You can read Rose’s whole letter here (though you must scroll down). Happy Monday.


Touching sacred cows: Alameda’s Measure A

Last week I wrote a column for the Alameda Journal about Measure A, a sacred cow of Alameda politics. I said that we ought to think about means of controlling growth that allow for thoughtful and comprehensive (rather than reactionary) planning. I wrote:

It is well within human ingenuity to craft laws that allow for the construction of apartments where it is appropriate and still protect handsome old houses. And it is folly to cling so tightly to a law passed out of fear and anger. It’s time for Alameda to show that it can protect what is valuable about its past at the same time as it embraces the future.

You can, of course, read the whole column here.


New Year’s shooting at Fruitvale BART near Alameda

All over the news is the story of the shooting of a young, unarmed man at the Fruitvale BART in the wee hours of New Year’s Day. News coverage here and here. If you watch the KTVU news report’s footage here,—the shooting is about two minutes in, and it is disturbing, be warned—it looks very much like the officer simply reached for his gun, stepped back, and shot. Then he puts his hands to his head, in what seems like a gesture of distress. What was happening? Did he think his gun was his taser? Did he momentarily lose his mind? What else happened in that scuffle that we could not see? In any case, Oscar Grant, 22, is dead, and many other lives have been ruined. The abundance of video taken of the event prevents what might have been, in decades past, a coverup. The facts will likely be known—whatever sad version the truth is.