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/ DEVELOPMENTS IN LOS ANGELES COUNTY

Middle School Students Meet to Talk About Prejudice

March 14, 2000

LOS ANGELES — After a day of discussing race, bigotry and stereotypes with hundreds of Los Angeles middle school students, seventh-grader K.C. Ngoy came to a conclusion: "I've teased people who are different before and I'm not going to do that anymore."

Ngoy, 13, a seventh-grader at Sutter Middle School in Winnetka, said he learned a lot Monday at the fourth annual University of Judaism's Prejudice Awareness Summit, in which students discussed the evils of discrimination.

He was one of 240 students from 22 Los Angeles Unified School District middle schools who participated in the daylong forum.

For much of the day the students were divided into groups of about 15 to discuss their experiences with and thoughts on prejudice and hate.

"I learned not to stereotype people by their race and not to tease people just 'cause they're not like you," Ngoy said.

Karen Aguilar, also a Sutter seventh-grader, said her group tried to find solutions to problems of discrimination.

"We shouldn't judge people by how they look outside," said Aguilar, 12. "We're all different inside and we can all get along."

The students also heard an emotional speech by Leon Bass, an African American and a retired school principal.

Bass told the students about growing up in the South and his military service in World War II in a segregated Army unit.

He also told of helping to liberate concentration camps after the Holocaust.

The event, organized by University of Judaism students, also provided training for the adult facilitators who presided over the discussion groups.

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