In response to a racially motivated attack against a Laguna Beach High School student that occurred over the winter break, administrators issued a statement saying those involved will face discipline “within the limits of our jurisdiction.”
“As a school district, we continue to work on teaching cultural proficiency, including self-awareness of how each student’s ethnicity, culture and life experiences may impact others,” said the statement issued by Laguna Beach Unified Supt. Jason Viloria and the district’s four campus principals.
Police are investigating whether a criminal violation occurred Dec. 27 when five students threw a watermelon and shouted a racial epithet at the home of a student who is black. None have yet been charged or arrested. In an interview, Cathleen Falsani and Maurice Possley, parents of Vasco Possley, called on the community to reject hateful acts against people because of sexual orientation, ethnicity or religion.
In the statement, school officials said, “Please be assured that we are addressing this matter with the individuals involved to the fullest extent possible. While it is natural to want to know the consequences of the incident, we cannot disclose further details about any proposed or implemented disciplinary action that has or may occur due to privacy laws.
“While this specific act does not represent the community as a whole, it allows us to use this incident as a teachable moment moving forward. We realize this is an ongoing process that needs to be continually woven into our school and community culture,” the statement says.
“It is everyone’s responsibility to maintain a welcoming and inclusive community of which we can all be proud,” the statement continues. “Working with our community partners, we will sustain a climate that values diversity and fosters inclusion to equip our students with the values they need to be global citizens. While this work is not always comfortable nor easy, it reminds us that we individually contribute to the fabric of our community.”