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Queensborough opens anti−hate workshop

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City officials and more than 200 administrators, teachers and counselors from Queens schools gathered at the Kupferberg Holocaust Center at Queensborough Community College Friday to launch a new city Department of Education program to train educators to deal with hate crimes.

NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly, Borough President Helen Marshall, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown and the educators attended a five−hour training session Friday designed to teach the individuals how to recognize and deal with hate crimes in city schools.

The training program was created over the past year and a half by the Kupferberg Center, the DOE, the state Division of Human Rights, the Queens DA’s office and the NYPD.

“The purpose of the conference was to provide a workshop for educators from the Queens high schools to be able to understand how to handle hate crimes in the borough,” Queensborough Community College President Eduardo Marti said. “It is our hope this particular model will be expanded to the other boroughs and to the state of New York as a whole.”

“We want people to be able to recognize behavior that can lead to a hate crime and employ techniques to alleviate the potential of a crime being committed,” Marti added.

Kupferberg Center Director Arthur Flug said education officials would model consequent training sessions after Friday’s event at the majority of the borough’s schools. Eventually, the program will be used at schools throughout the city and state, according to Connie Cuttle, director of professional development from the city Office of School and Youth Development.

Cuttle said the program’s objective is to not only react to hate crimes, but intervene in bullying.

“We’re focused on promoting respect for diversity,” Cuttle said. “We want to focus on what we can do to be proactive and make sure every school has a culture that’s supportive and inclusive of all children in the school. Our goal is to be proactive and at the same time make sure adults in the building know what bullying looks like and know how to intervene if they see it happen.”

Flug said it was especially important the program be launched at the Kupferberg Center because the “Holocaust was the greatest hate crime ever committed.”

Reach reporter Anna Gustafson by e−mail at agustafson@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718−229−0300, Ext. 174.

Posted 6:35 pm, October 10, 2011
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