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HARRISBURG (Dec. 10, 2002) — The Pennsylvania Bar Association Young Lawyers Division recently launched “Taking Hate Out of Junior and Senior High School Classrooms,” a statewide educational initiative designed to increase tolerance in schools by opening dialogue between lawyers and students in areas such as stereotyping, discrimination, prejudice and hate. The program initially was developed by the American Bar Association Young Lawyers Division Children’s Issues and Education Committee.

“Opening the lines of communication between students and adults is a critical first step in addressing the issues of intolerance and hate in our schools,” PBA/YLD Chair Charles Eppolito III said. “The PBA/YLD has made a commitment to talk with junior and senior high school students across Pennsylvania about the escalating prejudices that often lead to violence and other problems in our schools. Through open discussions, students can discuss hate, diversity and prejudice and devise ways to either avoid or constructively deal with these problems when they arise.”

Through this program, Pennsylvania young lawyers visit with students in junior and senior high schools to talk about issues relating to hate in schools. They review statistics on global diversity and the frequency of hate crimes, and draw on various historical cases of prejudice and hate caused by race, religion and creed. School faculty participates in the discussions to help address hate on a school-wide level. The goal of the program is to make schools safer and students more tolerant.

The kick-off event was held at Methacton High School, Montgomery County. Eppolito was joined by lawyers Eric B. Smith and William H. Levay in visiting six classrooms. Additional programs will be held at junior and senior high schools throughout the commonwealth during the remainder of the school year.

For more information on “Taking Hate Out of Junior and Senior High School Classrooms” or to schedule a presentation at a local school, contact Charles Eppolito at 717-531-1199 or by e-mail at ceppolito@mcquaideblasko.com.