Respect and Inclusivity
Each day, the students of De La Salle High School aspire to live the Lasallian Core Principles through their actions in the classroom, on the field, and in the community. De La Salle will continue its ongoing education surrounding important social issues that impact our students on a daily basis.
Our dedicated programming will continue to focus on how the De La Salle community should, and does, practice Respect for All Persons to create an Inclusive Community. Our themes of respect and inclusivity will serve as the foundation of our approach to educate our young men around the importance of respect for one another, bystander training, and much more.
This directive has produced a number of educational opportunities for the school, including its involvement with Dr. Jackson Katz, CEO of Mentors in Violence Prevention Strategies, and Ashanti Branch, founder of the Ever Forward Program.
Education for student leaders, faculty, staff, and administration will continue throughout the school year. Please return to this page for monthly updates to see how the De La Salle community is living: Respect for All Persons and promoting an Inclusive Community.
- Michael Aquino - October 2018
- Dr. Elizabeth Berkes - September 2018
- President, Mark Demarco '78 - August 2018
October Respect & Inclusivity Blog Post
Shifting the Conversation & the Culture
At the end of September, much of the nation was talking about the controversy surrounding Supreme Court pick Judge Kavanaugh’s alleged sexual assault while in high school. And while there were many views shared by experts, politicians and reporters, unfortunately, much of the discussion shifted to victim-blaming/shaming of the woman sharing her story. It’s my belief as a teacher that If adults were talking about it, so were our students. This seems to be the prevailing cultural norm and highlights a central educational imperative, especially rooted to our own core principles of concern for social justice and respect for all persons.
For many teachers, like myself, this national moment created a teachable one in my classes. We at De La Salle continue to educate our young men to stop victim-blaming and ask them to grapple with the behavior of crime victims, particularly survivors of sexual assault. This is critical for students to understand that trauma often takes years for survivors to acknowledge, much less deal with themselves. According to David Lisak's 2010 study: False Allegations of Sexual Assualt, false reporting of sexual assault (approx. 2-10%) follows false reporting of other crimes; and that the vast majority of sexual assaults go unreported because the victim knows the perpetrator, therefore, there is often little or no consequence for the perpetrator. As you can imagine, this conversation may be new for many students, and parents. This NPR Story has some great tips that may be of value.
This is why so much of our conversation on campus begins by building empathy and considering, as men, what it must be like to navigate the world through the experiences of the women in our lives. Through this awareness-raising, acknowledging that we, as young men, worry less about being sexually harassed or assaulted. Yet, young females at high schools across America could easily rattle off lists of things they consider and do on a daily basis to protect themselves.
As a culture, we are still stuck in the risk-management/prevention strategies that puts the burden on women and girls to protect themselves, rather than giving our young men the leadership skills and tools to begin noticing the harmful words and behaviors of their peers and their teammates, and the confidence to interrupt it. This is the core of what De La Salle’s partnership with Mentors in Violence Prevention and our multi-year efforts and conversation are about- from our yearly focus:
- In the 9th grade level, exploring healthy masculinity with Ashanti Branch and Ever Forward Club’s “Taking Off the Mask” workshop.
- In co-ed assemblies at the 9th/10th grade level with Kim Karr’s #icanhelp call to positively engage with social media use and interrupt harmful and negative online behaviors.
- Our selection of “Dogfight” as our fall play. “Dogfight “is a musical adapted from the 1991 film of the same name that takes a look at a group of Marine’s preparing to head off to Vietnam as early advisors, and their beliefs about gender norms as well as looking at the dehumanization that is a part of war.
- Convening of the newly formed Consortium of Boys’ Schools. The Consortium was formed by De La Salle in June 2018 to bring together Catholic and independent boys’ schools from across Northern California to tackle issues and challenges particular to educating young men and to share best practices.
De La Salle is committed to taking a leadership role in shifting the existing culture to one centered in empathy, respect, and action. It’s going to take the leadership and courage, particularly of the adult men in the lives of our De La Salle students – teachers, coaches, mentors, fathers – to open this conversation about what a world free from gender-based harassment and violence sounds and looks like.
September 2018 Blog
by Dr. Elizabeth Berkes
It’s a new school year and our students are excited to be here! Every year they come back to us with new ideas about how to take what they are learning and make it more meaningful for them and the world. This year is no exception.
The students in the Service Leadership class and the Jefferson Awards Students in Action Club have come to school with enthusiasm and a passion to serve, and are looking for other students who have a passion for a particular issue or an idea for new ways to serve our community and our world. In the first meeting of the 2018-19 school year, the students of the De La Salle Jefferson Awards Students in Action Club suggested a new way to explain what we do: The De La Salle Service Incubator. An incubator has a commitment to work with new ideas and help launch projects. William Cumbelich ’19, developed on a new graphic announcing this, he was so excited!
De La Salle has partnered with the Jefferson Awards Foundation Students In Action Program for more than 12 years. The Students In Action Program was created to develop high school students into community leaders through leadership, engagement, and impact.
This year we are proud that we already have new collaborations with our sisters at Carondelet High School and continued collaborations with our student-athletes and athletics programs on the calendar. JT Baird ’21 (JV football) and Connor Knierim ’19 (varsity swimming) will collaborate with Isis Tolson ‘19 at Carondelet to expand our annual Cereal Drive for Contra Costa Food Bank. On October 3, De La Salle and Carondelet will hold our second joint Blood Drive at Carondelet, headed by Carondelet’s Sophomore Class Council and De La Salle’s Vincent Castillo ‘21 (JV swimming). Later this month our schools will collaborate to host a second round “Service Draft” to allow more students to choose new projects to be adopted by our student service consultants in the Jefferson Awards Students in Action club. Looking ahead to next semester, on February 2, 2019, De La Salle and Carondelet students, led by Jack Napper ‘19 (varsity lacrosse), will host the Eighth Annual Laps for Life Suicide Prevention community event in collaboration with the entire lacrosse and soccer programs. We are incredibly proud that our service leaders come from all areas of the school.
Taken together, these opportunities to lead in service of our community truly embody all five Lasallian Core Principles. These students feel the love of God for them, know God’s Holy Presence, and are looking to share that with others.
We are so proud to watch these students grow and learn to serve and we are honored to walk beside them.
August 2018 Blog
by President Mark Demarco
With the first days of school upon us, we are reminded of all the wonders and possibilities our students will experience this year. In the 2018-2019 academic year, we will focus on the Lasallian Core Principle “Inclusive Community” as our means to continue our work with the respect initiative.
Today we introduce a new page on our website, one dedicated to our ongoing education about respect and inclusivity. Here you will find updates on programming at De La Salle, established to broaden our students’ view of their responsibility to themselves, others, and the community.
Every month you will see a perspective around these topics from our faculty and staff. You will hear from our students about how they are making a difference on and off campus, and we will update you on student leadership initiatives. For example, this month you will read some brief thoughts from Leo Lopoz, our Vice President of Athletics, and you will hear from Dante Williams, President of Company, our Theatre program at De La Salle.
In February of 2018, faculty and staff members from De La Salle and Carondelet participated in joint conversations and training exercises, led by Dr. Jackson Katz, CEO of Mentors in Violence Prevention Strategies (https://www.mvpstrat.com/). MVP Strategies returned in April 2018 to orchestrate a two-day training for a group of 25 faculty and staff members at De La Salle, and two Carondelet counselors. Dr. Katz returned to campus in August to lead a one-day leadership institute for De La Salle student leaders. We anticipate expanding the leadership program to include a broader group of students during the 2018-2019 school year.
The themes of respect and inclusivity will serve as the foundation to educate our young men around the importance of respect for one another, bystander training, and much more.
We invite you to visit this page at least once a month for updates from our passionate group of administrators and teachers, who are dedicated to inspiring our students each day.
If you have questions about programming around these subjects, please don’t hesitate to reach out to Dr. Heather Alumbaugh at email@example.com.
Students in Action Program
Powered by the Jefferson Award Foundation Students In Action program, De La Salle High School students continue to get out and serve the community. The Students In Action program was created to develop high school students into community leaders. The program promotes development through three pillars: Leadership, Engagement and Impact. Leadership develops current and future leadership potential within students, engagement promotes the value of service to grow volunteerism within the school community, and Impact measures how successful the volunteerism is and rewards students for their efforts.
As part of the Jefferson Award Foundation Students In Action program during the 2017-18 school year, De La Salle volunteered more than 65,000 hours and donated more than $30,000 to a number of organizations in the local and national communities, including:
- Contra Costa County Food Bank
- Sonoma County Good Bank
- Monument Crisis Center
- Leukemia and Lymphoma Society
- Down Syndrome Connection of the Bay Area
- Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation
- Habitat for Humanity
- American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
- Contra Costa Crisis Center
- Charity Challenge
- Nativity Village School in Eritrea, Africa
- Boys Town Lasallian Ministry of Madurai, India
- Generation Alive in Spokane, Wash.
- Respect for All Persons
- Inclusive Community
- Concern for the Poor and Social Justice
- Faith in the Presence of God
- Quality Education
The De La Salle Theatre Company looks for ways to increase empathy, creative leadership and antidotes to the anxieties and disconnect felt by so many young people we spend time with each day. As director, it is my hope that understanding can be gained when these kids get an early (high school) chance to confront scary questions about the world we live in and discover amazing new possibilities. This happens when we work together.
In the theatre, we create space to increase empathy by inviting our family of teachers, coaches and ministry leaders to be part of our inclusive theatre community. Our actors and crew members are also of the football team. They compete for water polo. They practice in the batting cage. They create in robotics. They tutor at the DLS Academy. They dunk, defend and volunteer. The coaches partner with us; we strive to build a foundation of true community as a Spartan.
In my experience on this campus, the Spartan is not confined to being just an athlete, scholar, artist, etc. A Spartan, and his brothers, can contribute to all things when surrounded by people who bring out the best in him.