The new Hollywood sports movie The Gridiron Gang chronicles the efforts of former Santa Barbara resident Paul Higa to redirect the energies of hard-core juvenile offenders in Los Angeles from criminal behavior to the football field. Higa, who died in April at age 53, was L.A. County’s chief probation officer. His widow, Jane Higa, is an administrator at Westmont College. The film, which opens in two weeks, was inspired by the 1993 documentary of the same title.

California is the first state in the nation to pass a law forbidding public college or university administrators from censoring student newspapers. Assemblymembers representing the liberal constituencies of San Francisco and Marin authored the law – AB 2581 – which the governor signed this week. The law also prohibits university administrators from disciplining students for engaging in press activities.

Looking to squash bias and racial prejudice, Santa Barbara Elementary School District preschool teachers underwent a full day of workshop training last week with the Anti-Defamation League. As part of the No Place for Hate campaign, teachers from all 28 district preschool classrooms learned to identify their own biases and how to prevent them from creeping into classroom activities. Follow-up workshops for parents and caregivers are planned for this fall.

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