October 13, 2010

LAUSD: Responding to Teen Suicide

While it was definitely appropriate to address the recent teen suicides occurring across the nation, the Los Angeles Unified School District's response to this tragic epidemic was shortsighted, and quite frankly, embarrassing. Last week, superintendent Ramon Cortines, sent out a memo to all parents who have children attending schools within the district. 

At first glance, the memo below appears to address the issue of teen suicide appropriately. However, smaller details reveal that the person writing the memo failed to be sensitive to the larger issue at hand (I denoted these with a red circle and arrow).

Recent Gay Suicides

I wanted to draw attention to these components of the memo because they are particularly horrifying, and do nothing but perpetuate biases surrounding the Gay community.
  1. The header of the memo reads "Recent Gay Suicides." Does that mean if a straight person commits suicide, the header should read "Recent Heterosexual Suicides"?
  2. Take a look at the district support services, and you tell me if you think the HIV/AIDS Prevention Unit was necessary to include?

What infuriates me further is that there is zero contact information listed for any of the district services. 

Perhaps LAUSD will have a Social Worker edit future memos that are sent out county-wide.

No comments: