- Los Angeles Unified School District
School Board Commemorates Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day (03-07-2023)
CONTACT: Rudy Gonzalves
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 7, 2023
Los Angeles Unified Board of Education Commemorates Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day
Highlights the Need for Mental Health Supports for Young Girls
Los Angeles, CA (March 7, 2023) - The Los Angeles Unified Board of Education voted to approve the resolution Celebrating Women’s History and Addressing Present Day Disparities and Gaps for Women and Girls in Los Angeles Unified. Authored by Board Member Dr. Rocío Rivas and Board Member Tanya Ortiz Franklin, the resolution honors the women’s rights movement, while bringing attention to issues such as gender equality, reproductive rights and violence and abuse against women. All school board members and Student Board Member Nathaniel Shin signed on in support of the resolution.
While the resolution acknowledges women’s immeasurable contributions to our past and present, it focuses on distressing signs around the mental health of U.S. teen girls, particularly in the wake of the pandemic. Reports of suicidal ideation, overdose self-harm and sexual violence have dramatically increased in recent years, prompting the urgency for Los Angeles Unified to prioritize mental wellness for all students, especially young women, girls and LGBTQ+ students.
Dr. Rivas introduced the resolution, her first while serving on the Board, urging that “our schools must be safe and nurturing places, with a resilient foundation of support for all. By honoring Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day, we take one step closer to creating a society that is equitable in practice, not just in principles, where women, girls and our LGBTQ+ community are safe, empowered and taking the lead.”
“I’m proud to co-sponsor the Celebrating Women’s History and Addressing Present Day Disparities and Gaps for Women and Girls in LAUSD resolution as we honor and build upon the progress of the women’s rights movement,” Board Member Tanya Ortiz Franklin said. “Today, we celebrate a step further in addressing gender disparities, and creating learning spaces where our young women, girls and gender nonconforming individuals can thrive. ¡Viva la Mujer!”
“We are committed to being a district that inspires and empowers young women to become the leaders of tomorrow and makers of their own destinies,” Superintendent Alberto M. Carvalho said. “Throughout our district, we have role models such as Board President Jackie Goldberg and Board Members Dr. Rocío Rivas, Kelly Gonez and Tanya Ortiz Franklin who are addressing disparities and creating schools where young women and girls can thrive. Los Angeles Unified will continue to create environments that protect against risk factors and play a critical role in shaping mental, physical and social growth for young women and girls as we work to address the harsh toll that the pandemic took on teen girls. To our young girls — you are not alone. We are here for you.”
“Women’s History Month is a chance to do more than celebrate the past,” Board President Jackie Goldberg said. “It’s also an important moment of reflection to ensure that we continue to forge a path of equality and opportunity for our young girls. Today, the Board made it clear that our schools have an important role to play in empowering our young women to succeed and reiterated our commitment to making education a tool that opens doors for them now and in the future.”
“I am honored to support the March as Women's History Month Resolution because I believe we must honor this history by doing all we can to ensure our future generations understand the importance of gender equity, the importance of protecting reproductive rights and doing all that we can to protect our students from violence and abuse,” Board Vice President Scott M. Schmerelson said.
“I am pleased to lend my support to the celebration of Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day,” Board Member Dr. George J. McKenna III said. “As educators, we have a tremendous opportunity to prepare our students to embrace equity and advance solutions that lead to greater gender parity.”
“I’m proud to recognize Women’s History Month and reaffirm LA Unified’s commitment to gender equity districtwide,” Board Member Nick Melvoin said. “From students to staff, school sites to central administration—our work continues to counteract the harmful effects of gender bias and disparities so that everyone can reach their full potential.”
“As we celebrate women’s many contributions to history and to our own school district, it is essential that our Board continue to examine how we can even better support the success of all the young women we serve in Los Angeles Unified,” Board Member Kelly Gonez said. “Through our ongoing support, we can ensure that all young women can achieve their goals now and after graduation.”
The Board called for a report within 60 days about positive and proactive interventions that the District has implemented to support the mental health of our youth and District staff, highlighting school-based services connecting youth and adults to community-based sources of care, preventative counseling and therapeutic intervention; establish inclusive, safe and positive environments on our campuses; ensure equitable outcomes for youth and adults affected by gender-based discrimination; and provide tools and resources to engage in positive self-esteem and body image, including healthy practices regarding social media usage.