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Mount to Host LAUSD Students, Teachers at Human Relations Symposium

Feb. 25 -- In an era when teens across the nation confront serious issues like cyberbullying and prejudice, the Los Angeles Unified School District is partnering with Mount Saint Mary’s University to organize a symposium that opens a dialogue about building empathy in schools. The symposium, "Building Empathy in Education: Connecting Heart and Mind," will be held on March 6 at the Mount's Doheny Campus, located at 10 Chester Place near downtown Los Angeles.

More than 300 students from 25 Los Angeles area high schools will join Los Angeles teachers and Mount faculty at the symposium, which encourages participants to actively engage in the examination of critical human relations issues. The event will offer more than 30 workshops that focus on a wide range of topics, including Understanding Cyberbullying, Faces of Prejudice, and Resolving Conflicts Peacefully. The workshops will be facilitated by a group of local community leaders, who seek to directly reach out and positively impact participating students.

"We know that our students are the future. The issues of human rights and social justice resonate with everyone in the community," says Judy Chaisson, coordinator for the LAUSD Office of Human Relations, Diversity and Equity. "We're grateful for forging a partnership between our community leaders, Mount St. Mary's, and our schools to build better relationships on our campuses."

Participants will be encouraged to form human relations leadership teams to support their schools' human relations efforts, Safe School Plan, service learning, and community service projects. Mount St. Mary's offered to host the event in support of its nationally-recognized teaching program and longstanding mission to serve as a leader in the community.

"We're really invested in this symposium because it's our mission to help teachers promote a positive climate on campus and help foster good relationships among students," says Shelly Tochluk, chair of MSMU's Education Department. "For us, it's extremely important to support a teacher's and student's ability to better understand and work on behalf of social justice issues."

The event is made possible through a unique collaboration of the Mount's Office of Community Engagement and its Center for Cultural Fluency; the Los Angeles unified Office of Human Relations, Diversity and Equity, Student-to-Student Interaction Program, and Health Education programs; and Los Angeles unified board President Mónica García, board members Marguerite La Motte and Richard Vladovic, and local district Superintendents Carol Truscott and Linda del Cueto.

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