Boy Scout snag

Discrimination by a group that uses school-district channels to distribute information to parents has become an issue in Davis. At the school-board meeting last Thursday, local activists Shelly Bailes and Ellen Pontac pointed out to the board members that an administrative change had allowed a group that discriminates—specifically, the Boy Scouts of America (BSA)—to disseminate information without a disclaimer from the school district.

The Davis Joint Unified School District, like most school districts throughout California, allows nonprofit youth groups to send fliers and recruitment information home with students. However, DJUSD also has a local policy that prohibits discrimination on the basis of race/ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, mental/physical disabilities or conditions, family structure, religious or political beliefs, or age. Until recently, a disclaimer was attached to recruitment materials sent out by the BSA noting that they discriminate against atheists and GLBTQ people and that this discrimination was inconsistent with the district’s policy.

An administrative decision was made to remove that disclaimer, according to DJUSD Superintendent David Murphy. “Some members of the community didn’t want it expressly said that the Boy Scouts discriminate against atheists and gays,” Murphy told SN&R. “I thought, ‘I don’t have to explicitly say that. I think everybody knows that.'”

Bailes and Pontac aren’t so sure that “everybody” knows that. The main problem, according to Bailes, is that “the school district has a nondiscrimination policy, and that should apply to any organization that uses the school.”

Murphy is certain the problem can be resolved administratively. He expects to have a third draft of language for the disclaimer within a couple of weeks that “will satisfy all parties.”

—Kel Munger

Wave swapping

Come September 5, classical-music fans expecting to rise and shine with Beethoven and Brahms are in for a rude awakening. Capital Public Radio is swapping the frequencies of its two local radio stations. Starting the day after Labor Day, National Public Radio’s Morning Addition, All Things Considered and Fresh Air—along with all the local news—will move to 90.9 FM. For the classics, listeners will have to tune in to 88.9 FM. According to a letter sent to members last week, “If you’re an NPR news fan, you know that hearing news programs is a challenge in some parts of our listening area—we simply don’t reach all the listeners we’d like to serve.” And classical-music fans around Stockton currently have double access to the news but can’t pick up the classical station. By switching the two, CPR hopes to make NPR more accessible around here while improving access to the music down south.

—Chrisanne Beckner

Non-lethal weapon

By the time you read this, America’s largest suicide hotline—(800) SUICIDE—is scheduled to go out of service, but a new number has emerged to direct those in crisis to counseling and, if need be, emergency services close to home. The new Lifeline number, (800) 273-TALK, is already serving clients round the clock, and callers to the old hotline after August 31 will be referred by recording to the new Lifeline number. All calls are private and confidential.

Callers from Sacramento and surrounding areas typically are routed to Suicide Prevention and Crisis Services working through The Effort Inc. (a 24-hour crisis line is at (916) 368-3111). The Effort’s staff fields about 8,000 calls per year, about 11 percent of which are “lethal"—that is, calls needing immediate intervention to ensure safety, according to clinical director Lynn Zender. “I think of suicide as a continuum from non-lethal to lethal,” said Zender, “and our job is to move them backward to the non-lethal so that by the end of the call they are in a safer situation.”

The National Institute of Mental Health reports that suicide is now the 11th leading cause of death for Americans.

—Amy Yannello