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Aug 2009
Teens learn about prejudice in LAPD program at Museum of Tolerance

Some L.A.-area high school students have been taking a crash course in racial profiling, discrimination and prejudice during a weeklong program that ends today at the Museum of Tolerance in West L.A.

Students take part today in the LAPD Youth Leadership Retreat at the Museum of Tolerance. (Ann Johansson /Los Angeles Times)

Nearly 20 teenagers, mostly from the Harbor and East L.A. areas, attended the Youth Leadership Retreat held in partnership with the Los Angeles Police Department at the museum dedicated to educating people about the Holocaust.

Alan Ramirez, a 14-year-old freshman at Port of Los Angeles High School, was among the attendees.

"We learned the old-fashioned convictions that we should all have the ability to help people if they are bullied or being disrespected," said the San Pedro teen. "It's important for us to have a generation of good leaders."

The students also learned about violence prevention and heard a first-hand account from a Holocaust survivor.

"Ignorance breeds intolerance," said LAPD Officer Joe Buscaino, who drove the the students to the museum every day. "The lessons these teens have learned here are things they can take with them in their futures, careers and family."

Buscaino helped create the Harbor Area's Teen Community-Police Advisory Board, which helped cover the $250 cost for each teen, along with an LAPD boosters association.

Capt. Ann Young, who runs the LAPD's detective support division, said she organized the program because she thought the museum could offer area teens some valuable lessons. This is the first time the program has been offered, but Young said she hopes to team with the museum to do more.

"Some of the same classes we get as police officers they get on a more scaled-down, child level," Young said.

Jessica McLemore, a junior at King Drew Magnet High School in Willowbrook, said she wanted to build her leadership skills.

"It seemed like a great opportunity. I hope to be a leader some day," said the 16-year-old. "I'm more confident now because of the tools I have learned."



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