zerohour: A New Way of Achieving Peace, Respect and Academic Excellence in the Schools
The zerohour campaign, now a pilot program in some Los Angeles County schools, teaches school administrators, teachers and students, how to achieve safe, culturally-appropriate learning environments.
When students perceive that their cultural knowledge of heritages are not valued by the larger society, when students feel harassed because of prejudice against them - whether it is based on disability, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion, race, language, or immigration status - their ability to learn is compromised.
The zerohour program brings a groundbreaking technique to schools which help create a climate of understanding and peace. Children, teenagers and young adults are motivated to take responsibility for their bodies, minds and health. By learning to communicate in non-judgmental and non-hostile ways, students become skilled and are equipped with human relations tools that enrich their lives.
Schools that demonstrate long-term commitment to developing human relations can become a part of the Los Angeles County Human Relation's network of "zerohour" Schools." This means that the individual school gets recognized on the Commission's website and is recognized by County officials. The "zerohour School" receives priority registration at zerohour-sponsored trainings and events, personalized technical assistance from expert human relations consultants, human relations training tools, youth-friendly materials, and assistance in obtaining resources for human relations programs and training.
Conversations are crucial, whether between key stakeholders in order to help identify and address the intergroup relations issues at the school, or between and among students, teachers, parents, administration and staff. This allows the key stakeholders in the school community to effectively communicate and support each other and to offer continued assessment of the intergroup pulse of the campus.
The Commission assists in the development of school collaboratives that meet regularly to develop leadership within the school community that is able to quickly respond to hate crime incidents and hate crimes. This leadership can organize workshops on bias, discrimination and service learning projects that will enhance and promote positive relations on campus. These can include school wide mini-symposiums and school assemblies. The Commission also provides zerohour gear, such as t-shirts, stickers, posters, action packets, and the website to those individuals seeking to take action in their campuses.