An online newsletter produced by EdSource
with support from The California Endowment 


June 14,
Issue 51
School Sports
When"talking trash" in school sports constitutes bullying 
From left, Curry, Green and Thompson. Credit: KNBR
What do you say to your kids when basketball legends Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green of the Golden State Warriors say, one after another in recent press interviews, that talking trash, i.e., hurling insults at opponents, is just part of the game?

You say that it's not.

The players defended trash talk this week after Green was suspended for one game in the NBA finals following a physical incident with Cleveland Cavaliers player LeBron James. Afterwards, James didn't discuss the physical incident but said Green had "crossed a line" in his trash talk -- although James, too, acknowledge that trading insults was part of the game.

But every youth athletic association condemns the practice on school campuses, including the California Interscholastic Federation, the governing body for high school sports. The federation says that coaches have "the duty to demand" that students refrain from verbal abuse of opponents as well as "profane or belligerent trash talking."

In a study published in the International Sport Coaching Journal, researcher Maura Rosenthal at Bridgewater State College in Massachusetts says that trash talking falls into two categories: verbal aggression/bullying and jokes/harmless banter. The student who is the subject of the joke gets to decide if it's funny. But there's nothing funny about the trash talk sports players in elementary, middle and high school told Rosenthal that they'd heard: "Fatty," "Hey kid -- you suck!" and "Hit me again, I'll knock you out." Many of the slurs used foul language to describe body size and perceived lack of manliness.

And that puts trash talk into the realm of bullying, harassment and abuse, according to the International Olympic Committee in a spring update to its official Consensus Statement on Sexual Harassment and Abuse in Sport.

The harm caused by verbal putdowns "still represent a blind spot for many sports organizations,"
said the Olympic Committee. The committee said sports-related verbal abuse in childhood and young adulthood can cause long lasting psychological harm and contribute to anxiety, depression, substance abuse, eating disorders and the decision to abandon a sport.

Adults should be watchful for behavioral changes, such as withdrawal, that could signal that kids and teens are being bullied on the sports field, according to Stomp Out Bullying, a national anti-bullying group. According to Maurice Elias, a researcher in social and emotional skill building at Rutgers University, sports teams offer students a chance to learn lifelong skills of calming themselves down, communicating with others and persevering. And kids are supposed to feel good playing sports, not put-down by trash talk.
School Discipline 
Putting a cold financial price tag on the impact of school discipline practices, researchers have calculated that a 10th-grade California student who drops out because of being suspended from school could end up costing the public $755,000 in lost tax revenue and increased health care and criminal justice expenses over the life of the student, according to a report released by the the Center for Civil Rights Remedies at UCLA's Civil Rights Project.

Read more at EdSource.

California Attorney General Kamala Harris has launched an investigation into the use of harsh discipline - including physical restraints and isolation  - on students with disabilities who attend publicly funded private special education schools, EdSource has learned.

Read more at EdSource.
School Climate
Schools across the country are preparing to formally track students from military families, monitoring their academic, attendance and discipline records as they move from military base to military base and state to state, under a new provision in the federal education law. The change comes in response to concerns raised by the Department of Defense that the children of active-duty members of the Army, Navy, Coast Guard, Air Force and Marines have academic and emotional needs that schools often are ill-equipped to meet.

Read more at EdSource.
As a high school student, Coley Baker found a "dream school" in Biola University, an evangelical Christian college with a palm-tree-dotted campus close, yet not too close, to home in Los Angeles County. But things happen in late adolescence - identity takes shape, feelings emerge - and by the 2014 Biola graduation ceremony, the young Christian woman Baker once appeared to be had spent two years hiding a new identity as a young Christian transgender man.

Baker never came out publicly about his transgender identity on campus. But at about the same time, Biola decided to apply for a religious exemption that would give the university the right to expel transgender students and refuse to admit, house or accommodate them, without jeopardizing federal funding.

Read more at EdSource.

Related at EdSource:
Student Environmental Health
Dealing with lead in drinking fountains. Schools across the country continue to discover toxic levels of lead in drinking fountains. District Administrator magazine offers tips on water testing, water filters and raising public awareness that crumbling lead plumbing systems may have to be replaced.

Let everyone know the findings. The Portland Public Schools superintendent put two district officials on leave, saying they ran a health and safety department that "didn't deliver" on addressing hazardous levels of lead in school water or in communicating their findings to the district and the public, OregonLive reported.
Student Safety and Teacher Misconduct
Insurers say no. The Los Angeles Unified School District said it was surprised to find that its insurance company said it was not responsible for covering a total of $288 million in legal settlements to families of children who were sexually abused by teachers at school.
Save the Date:
Fall is coming faster than you think. Save the date for the 2016 EdSource Symposium on "Making it Work: Implementing California's New Vision for School Success" on Thursday, October 6, 2016 at the Oakland Convention Center. Register now for the early-bird discount.

The EdSource Symposium is an annual statewide public education conference. This year, symposium speakers and attendees will discuss issues including: What is the budget outlook for implementation of California's reform initiatives? How will schools benefit from California's drive to replace top-down mandates emphasizing sanctions and punishment? How will schools improve school climate - and measure it? What are better forms of assessment? Where does social-emotional learning fit in?

Panelists include:

    Carl Cohn, executive director of the California Collaborative for Educational Excellence
    Linda Darling-Hammond, president of the Learning Policy Institute
    Christopher Edley, Jr., co-founder of the Opportunity Institute
    Michael Kirst, president of the State Board of Education
    David Plank, executive director of Policy Analysis for California Education
    Mac Taylor, State Legislative Analyst 
    Rucker Johnson, UC Berkeley Goldman School of Public Policy
    Antwan Wilson, Oakland Unified School District Superintendent 

Early bird registration (through Sept. 9, 2016) is $109.00 *  After Sept. 9, fee is $129.00.
Box lunch is included  *  Group discounts, and a limited number of scholarships may be available.

EdSource thanks School Services of California for their assistance in hosting registration for the event. Click here to register at School Services' website.
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