Newport–Mesa School District to Hold Public Presentation on Anti-Bias Training

By Lynn Hackman
Lynn Hackman
Lynn Hackman
Lynn is a reporter for the Southern California edition of The Epoch Times, based in Orange County. She has enjoyed a 25-year career as a senior-level strategic public relations and contingency planning executive. An editor, blogger, and columnist, Lynn also has experience as a television and radio show producer and host. For six years, she was co-host of Sunday Brunch with Tom and Lynn on KOCI 101.5 FM. She is also active in the Newport Beach community, serving as chair emeritus of the Newport Beach City Arts Commission, among various positions with other local organizations.
November 17, 2021 Updated: November 17, 2021

On Nov. 18, the Newport–Mesa Unified School District (NMUSD) will hold a virtual presentation on teacher training and classroom materials developed by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) on the topic of implicit and explicit bias.

The presentation, called “A World of Difference Anti-Bias Workshop,” will review ADL training and classroom materials on “recognizing bias and its harm on others, understanding and benefits of diversity, improving intergroup relations and confronting racism, anti-Semitism and other forms of bigotry.”

NMUSD agreed to hold the workshop after a group of concerned parents and community leaders requested more information about the materials being used to train teachers but were told the materials were not available to be reviewed due to the “proprietary” nature of a contract signed by NMUSD and the ADL.

“Anything that the teachers are going to be teaching, we have a right to see per the education code,” parent Bill Dunlap told The Epoch Times.

Dunlap held a Zoom call with ADL representatives about his and other parents’ concerns.

“I told them, ‘We’re parents, we want to know what you’re teaching the teachers, who in turn will be teaching our children.’”

Dunlap and others asked for copies of the materials but were denied access to the training documents despite numerous requests to the ADL and NMUSD.

NMUSD began offering “A World of Difference” anti-bias courses in 2019 for secondary school employees and volunteer student peer leaders on the recommendation of a districtwide human relations task force formed in response to an anti-Semitic incident at Newport Harbor High School in March 2019.

However, once the COVID-19 pandemic shutdowns began, the anti-bias training was put on hold.

In August of this year, the school board unanimously agreed to approve a $27,800 contract with ADL to continue anti-bias training but canceled a staff course designed to explore privilege, power dynamics, and oppression.

Another parent told The Epoch Times that she has been asking NMUSD since June to see the anti-bias teacher training materials and was told that they were unavailable. She said a Freedom of Information Act request took months, and the materials that were provided were heavily redacted and didn’t provide the details of the training content.

Calls to the NMUSD for comment were not answered by press time.

Community members interested in attending the Thursday, Nov. 18 anti-bias training workshop can do so by joining the meeting link here from 6:00 to 7:30 p.m.

Lynn Hackman
Lynn is a reporter for the Southern California edition of The Epoch Times, based in Orange County. She has enjoyed a 25-year career as a senior-level strategic public relations and contingency planning executive. An editor, blogger, and columnist, Lynn also has experience as a television and radio show producer and host. For six years, she was co-host of Sunday Brunch with Tom and Lynn on KOCI 101.5 FM. She is also active in the Newport Beach community, serving as chair emeritus of the Newport Beach City Arts Commission, among various positions with other local organizations.