JOLT Partnership Teaches Tolerance

Law enforcement, city and school officials launched an effort to reduce hate crimes by young people in Long Beach during a recent ceremony at Poly High School. L.A. County District Attorney's Office, in partnership with local police and schools, kicked off JOLT, Juvenile Offenders Learning Tolerance. To change behaviors and attitudes, it stresses prevention and early intervention. To help to prevent hate crimes, teachers will prepare and present lessons about civil rights, discrimination and prejudice to their students. "If we can reduce hate crimes in our schools and communities, Long Beach will be a place that we can all be proud of," said Carl Cohn, superintendent of schools. For young people who commit hate crimes or exhibit hateful behavior, JOLT provides additional counseling and education on racism and prejudice. Referrals to JOLT will be made by schools, police or courts. Youth who choose not to participate must instead go through the judicial process. Participants and their parents must attend intensive training to build communication and anger management skills, and to break down prejudices. Participants also must meet regularly with counselors for a year. The keys to successful completion of JOLT are a letter of apology, restitution and satisfactory school attendance, grades and citizenship. JOLT operates under a grant from the National Conference for Community and Justice.