Port Angeles: Multicultural Task Force takes stock of city’s status in past year

PORT ANGELES — Members of the city’s Community Multicultural Task Force say although no hate crimes have been reported in the last year, their work to prevent discrimination needs to continue.

The group met Wednesday for the first time since last November to receive reports from police and school district officials.

“We haven’t had a hate crime reported in the last year, but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t happening,” Police Chief Tom Riepe said.

“We cannot rest on our laurels and say everything is fine. We still need to deal with this as a community.”

Mayor Richard Headrick, who chairs the task force, agreed and asked for the group to meet more often.

In the past, the group met when events warrant. The members agreed Wednesday to meet quarterly.

The next meeting is tentatively scheduled for Jan. 10.

No toleration

Riepe said the community as a whole must to continue to say that discrimination of any kind will not be tolerated.

“I think that continued education and setting community standards is extremely important,” he said.

Port Angeles School District Superintendent Gary Cohn said the school system has celebrated several successes in the area of diversity.

He pointed to Native American students’ recent successes on the Washington Assessment of Student Learning, or WASL, tests.

Cohn said teachers and administrators have been working to narrow the achievement gap between white and Native American students for many years.

“We have closed the gap in fourth-grade math between white students and Native American students,” he said.

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