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Galt Joint Union High School District approves Breaking Down the Walls workshop for teens

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Posted: Wednesday, October 12, 2011 12:00 am | Updated: 6:08 am, Wed Oct 12, 2011.

Galt Joint Union High School District trustees unanimously approved spending close to $13,000 on Tuesday to bring a notable speaker to the two traditional high school campuses at the end of the month.

Stu Cabe, of Breaking Down the Walls, will also provide workshops for teachers and student leaders to create a more accepting campus community. Among the issues he will address are bullying, drugs and suicide, according to Liberty Ranch High School principal Brian Deis.

Freshmen and sophomores there participated in the same event in February 2010.

This year’s team-building effort is partly in response to a spike in fist fights at Galt High School this school year and administrators’ desire to create a positive campus atmosphere there.

Last month, administrators there called an impromptu public safety meeting to discuss the increase in campus fights. Principal Maria Orr said Breaking Down the Walls will help address ensuring that students feel safe and comfortable at school.

Cabe, whose travel expenses from Colorado will be paid for by the district, will address social and cultural differences among teens and ways to break down those barriers. His five-day visit will start with an 8:15 a.m. assembly Oct. 24 at Galt High School.

In addition, 80 student leaders from both schools will jointly attend afternoon workshops.

On Tuesday, Breaking Down the Walls received the support of student leaders, including Galt High student leader Mariah Franco, who believes the experience will change student culture.

“We hope the ripple effect will get larger and larger,” she told board members.

However, trustee Angela DaPrato questioned the funding — $6,988 for Galt High and $5,588 for Liberty Ranch.

“You’re paying this company a lot of money even though you’re sharing a lot of the time,” she said of the organization sponsoring Cabe.

Galt High’s expense is higher since the school will also host an assembly. Approximately 1,000 students will participate, according to Orr.

“Yes, this is an expensive program,” Deis said. “If we have one kid not make a bad decision, I think one student is worth $10,000.”

That was the cost Liberty Ranch paid last year when Cabe spent three full days there. Deis credits that presentation with a decrease in student discipline issues.

Contact reporter Jennifer Bonnett at jenniferb@lodinews.com.

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