Benicia High School Panther Post

September 2020

BHS Vision Statement

Benicia High School will inspire learning with integrity in order to find personal success in an ever-changing world.

Expected Student Learning Results:

  • Communicator and Collaborator
  • Critical Thinker and Problem Solver
  • Creator and Innovator

September Letter from Principal Kleinschmidt

Hello Panther Families,

I want to thank you all for a successful Back to School as we end our first two weeks of the 2020-2021 school year. I had the opportunity to check in with many students during textbook distribution and asked them how they felt about the start of the school year, their feelings about the 4x4 schedule so far, and how their online classes are going. The feedback was overwhelmingly positive! The Vice Principals and I have been visiting classes online (via Zoom and Google Meet) to observe the teachers and students working together. We also gave a short student survey on the first Friday of the school year with the plan to survey students throughout the semester to measure how they are feeling about their learning experience this year. I want to share the results with you to celebrate several areas that show positive growth and areas where we want to continue our work to improve. We will also be surveying parents and staff throughout the year to gather a range of perspectives as well.

August 21st Student Survey Results - Over 1,200 Student Responses

  • I feel that the staff at BHS implemented technology tools and organized online instruction that has helped me adjust to the currently required virtual learning. 91.6% of students Strongly Agreed or Agreed with this statement.
  • Teachers at BHS have made me feel welcomed in the virtual classroom. 97% of students Strongly Agreed or Agreed
    • My teachers make it clear what behaviors are acceptable and not acceptable in school. 98.3% of students Strongly Agreed or Agreed
    • I feel like a real part of my school. 74.1% of students Strongly Agreed or Agreed
    • Teachers in this school want us to use our thinking skills, not just memorize things. 83.5% of students answered Very Much or Mostly
    • My teachers have high expectations for me. 93.3% of students Strongly Agreed or Agreed
    • Diversity of students is recognized and celebrated at Benicia High School. 82.8% of students Strongly Agreed or Agreed
    • Benicia High School provides a safe and secure place for learning. 94.2% of students Strongly Agreed or Agreed
    • I feel that the BHS Expected Student Learning Results are taught/used in my classes: Communicate & Collaborate, Critical Thinking & Problem Solving, Create & Innovate. 93.3% of students Strongly Agreed or Agreed
    • My teachers try to find out what I am interested in. 65.8% of students answered Very Much or Mostly

    We will continue our work by reviewing survey results and student achievement data throughout the year with our staff and with important stakeholder groups as part of our ongoing school improvement plan. One such group is our School Site Council, which is comprised of students, parents, and staff. We recently sent out nomination forms for our 9th grade Student Representative and to fill a vacancy for our 12th grade Student Representative and one Parent Representative position. We will be emailing 9th grade students, 12th grade students, and parents with the ballot of nominees so that you can elect your representative prior to our September 8th meeting. Thank you in advance for your time, your vote, and your voice!

    As part of our traditional Back to School time of year, we are excited to bring to you a Virtual Back to School event in place of our annual evening on campus. Instead, we invite you to "meet" your students' teachers and learn more about their classes through an interactive web page that includes videos and presentations from all of our teachers about their specific classes. This Back to School experience will be sent to all parents via email during the first week of September.

    There is a lot of information and resources that follow in this newsletter. Please take some time to read through everything, check out the links, and keep this as a resource all month long. We try to make sure to provide information and answer questions ahead of time with each newsletter. If you do have any questions or need assistance, please call the BHS Main Office Monday through Friday, between 7:30am-4:00pm, or email and your email will be directed to the correct staff member. Despite our offices and campus being closed, we are very much still here to help you.

    Go Panthers!

    Brianna Kleinschmidt, Principal

    Tech Support During Virtual Learning

    Having trouble with your Chromebook or accessing class resources? Benicia Unified School District offers a Live Tech Support from 7:30 am to 4:00 pm. You can access this live support from the Technology Department web page on the BUSD website: and find the chat icon on the bottom right of the screen.

    Student Work Permit Information

    For students seeking a work permit for after school or weekend employment, Ms. Gladi in the College & Career Center is available to assist you. To start the work permit process, the student must work with their potential employer to first fill out the “Intent to Employ a Minor and Request for Work Permit.” The student can then email the document to Ms. Gladi at for review and completion.

    Link to Work Permit Document

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    Our Student Leadership/Associated Student Body has been busy creating ideas for virtual students activities and school spirit!

    We will have our first ever Virtual Panther Rally on Friday, September 18th and we want as many students as possible to be a part of it! This is an interactive event led by our ASB Rally Commissioners, Robyn Balmediano and Brandon Martin. Students should look for an email with the opportunity to sign up to participate in the rally and get the code to join the filming sessions planned for their specific grade level. The focus is on school spirit and inclusiveness - any student who is inappropriate in any way will be removed from filming and the rally.

    Then, each Friday beginning October 2nd (following the Club Fair), Student Leadership will create a Fun Friday video and send it out to the student body. The videos will change each week with themes and activities like Fun Friday Karaoke Edition and Fun Friday Rap Battle Edition. Students can submit videos each week to participate in the Fun Friday. Videos should be between 30 and 45 seconds each and submitted on Thursday by 5:00 pm the day prior to the Friday event. For example, for the first Fun Friday on October 2nd, videos will be due by 5pm on Thursday October 1st. Students can submit videos by sharing/sending to with the event in the subject: Karaoke Video.

    Stay tuned for more information and for the Fun Friday activities each week. Check the monthly newsletters, BHS Twitter or Facebook accounts, or the BHS Leadership Instagram account.

    New: Leadership Website & weekly Paw'dcast Available Here

    Student Clubs at BHS

    Hey Panthers! Student clubs will continue this year and are getting started now! Students who submitted interest in starting a club were invited to a meeting on August 28th to learn about what is needed to charter a new or continuing club at BHS. Here are a few important reminders and date:

    • September 11th - Club Packets are due
    • September 25th, 11:00am - Virtual Club Fair for all students to learn about the clubs this year & join

    New at BHS: Math & Science Team

    There’s an exciting new opportunity at BHS called the Math and Science Team! Students founded the Math and Science Team at BHS because they felt students at our school deserve more opportunities to show their academic abilities outside of the classroom. Four of the founders went to the Solano County Math Steeplechase last year and had great success, winning first place, and it was a lot of fun. Throughout the year the team will compete in all sorts of math and science competitions such as Steeplechase, Science Bowl, American Math Competitions, and events such as Mesa Day at UC Berkeley. If you are interested in joining and participating in competitions like these please join the Google Classroom (Google Classroom code: cc3swkv). Our first meeting will be September 28th via Google Meets. We hope to see you all there!

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    BHS Library Available During Virtual Learning

    While we are in virtual learning, our BHS Librarian Ms. Segle and all librarians across the district are working together to provide library services to students. Starting on September 4th, students can put library books on hold and pick them up at our curb-side service on Fridays during the lunch hour. Students also have access to eBooks and the Benicia Public Library as their student ID card serves as their library card.

    For information on how to reserve and pick up a library book, access to databases, and more, be sure to visit and bookmark the BHS Library Resource page, linked below. Students can also access several library resources through the Clever app, with a single sign in.

    Link to Library Page

    BHS Library Contact: Ms. Megan Segle

    Class of 2021 Senior Pictures

    Senior picture sessions have been rescheduled and we want to make sure we have every Senior included! Be sure to check out the information linked below and book your appointment if you have not already done so. You have the option of making an appointment at the photographer's studio now or making an appointment for your portrait at Benicia High School in November.

    Link for Senior Picture Information

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    Counseling Department

    Counselors are available to provide a full range of services to students virtually. This includes academic, college, career, personal, social, and emotional support through email, phone, and Zoom contact, and through small group meetings. If your child could benefit from additional support, please contact your counselor by email.


    9th grade - Ms. Smith at

    10th grade - Ms. Guenther at

    11th grade - Mr. Keppel at

    12th grade - Ms. Wallace at

    Student Grief Group at BHS

    The BHS Counseling Office, in partnership with BUSD Mental Health Services, will be providing a Student Grief Group for 6 weeks starting September 11th and running through October 16th, on Fridays from 11:00 - 12:00. This is a small group setting to support students who have lost a parent or sibling. The intent is to build community, process grief, and learn coping skills and strategies. Students who are interested can email Counselor Megan Guenther at to sign up or request more information.

    Seniors - College & Career Planning

    Senior Counselor Ms. Wallace will be sharing information with Seniors to help prepare for college applications, graduation, and more. We recommend that Seniors check their school email regularly for these important updates. We also have a Google Classroom dedicated to Seniors so that you can access information and announcements from the Counseling Office and the College & Career Center all year long. This includes application workshops, community college registration workshops, and essay writing for college personal statements.

    For students planning to apply to 4-year colleges and universities:

    • Private school applications - Common Application Application dates and deadlines vary by school. If the school you are applying to requires one or more letters of recommendation, you will put your Counselor's name (Kathleen Wallace) and email ( into your application and she will be notified. She will then connect with you before writing your letter so that you can provide her with your resume and/or a "brag sheet".
    • UC Applications - Applications are open now, but cannot be submitted until November 1st. No letters of recommendation required. Application deadline is November 30th at 11:59 pm.

    • CSU Applications - Applications are open now, but cannot be submitted until October 1st. No letters of recommendation required. Application deadline is December 4th at 11:59 pm.

    • Private schools and Public schools outside of California - Some use the Common application or they may have their own application. Go to their website and follow instructions to apply. Due dates vary.

    Be sure to request a copy of your transcript before you complete your application. It is very important to be accurate when filling out your applications.

    Link to Request Unofficial Transcript for College Applications

    Important: Seniors Graduating in January & Attending a 4-Year College

    If you are planning to attend a 4 year college in Fall 2021, be sure to check the policies of the college campus you plan to attend before signing up to take any college classes in the spring, after you graduate in January. The University of California campuses and the California State Campuses, as well as other colleges, do consider a freshman applicant to be a student who has graduated from (or is still in) high school and who has not enrolled in a regular (non-summer) term at any college or university following graduation. As long as you are enrolled in high school, you can take college classes and attend a 4 year college as a first time freshman, but once you graduate the rules change. Please contact 12th Grade Counselor, Ms. Wallace, for questions and academic advising.

    UC Berkeley Info Night for Solano County Students

    UC Berkeley is providing an information and Q&A night on September 17th from 3-5 pm for prospective students who live or go to school in Solano County, presented by Donna E. Brennan, Assistant Director of the Office of Undergraduate Admissions.

    LINK for Students to Register - Students must be registered to be able to join the event.

    Prospective Students: Sign up to receive personalized information on applying to Berkeley, and register now for a virtual admissions presentation.

    #BerkeleyBound #IAmBerkeley

    Financial Aid Night Hosted by Benicia High School

    Our annual Financial Aid Night will be held on Tuesday, October 6th from 6:30-7:30 pm and will be online this year. We invite students and families to join us to learn about financial planning options for college. Our guest speaker will be Priscilla Muha, the Director of Financial Aid for Cal Maritime.

    Link to Financial Aid Night Online Meeting (Zoom)

    Meeting ID: 967 9411 5543
    Passcode: UBW9GB

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    Starting the Year with Sources of Strength

    Sources of Strength is a strength-based comprehensive wellness program that focuses on suicide prevention but impacts other issues such as substance abuse and violence. The program is based on a relational connections model that uses teams of peer leaders mentored by adult advisors to change peer social norms about help seeking and encourages students to individually assess and develop strengths in their life.

    Benicia High School has a group of dedicated peer-leaders and staff working with the Sources of Strength resources to help students call upon and develop their strengths:

    • Family Support
    • Positive Friends
    • Mentors
    • Healthy Activities
    • Generosity
    • Spirituality
    • Physical Health
    • Mental Health
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    Suicide Prevention Week: September 6-12

    From Solano County Behavioral Health:

    Suicide Prevention Week, observed September 6-12, is a time when individuals and organizations around the country and the world join their voices to broadcast the message that suicide can be prevented, and to reach as many people as possible with tools and resources to support themselves and those around them. September is also National Recovery Month, a time to increase awareness and understanding of mental health and substance use disorders, and celebrate the people who have found recovery.

    The theme for the 2020 Suicide Prevention is “Hope, Resilience and Recovery.” This year we'll focus on hope by promoting resiliency through social and emotional learning and celebrating recovery. By promoting protective factors such as hope and resilience, we may reduce the likelihood that someone experiencing challenges will go down the suicidal crisis path. These protective factors may also help to prevent substance use, while fostering recovery and wellness.

    Please take a few minutes to view the video below, made available through our partners at Each Mind Matters.

    This year the Solano County Suicide Prevention Committee and Behavioral Health are sponsoring several virtual events focused on suicide prevention. Attached to this email are fliers that list details regarding the three different presentations available and open to all community members:

    • Tuesday September 8th 3:30-5PM (English) which will include information about the local impact of suicide, a personal story of recovery, and efforts to prevent suicide deaths.

    • Wednesday September 9th 4:30-6PM (Spanish) which will include information about the local impact of suicide, a personal story of recovery, and efforts to prevent suicide deaths. The 2nd flyer attached is translated in Spanish and only lists the session being offered in Spanish. Please do make efforts to route this 2nd flyer to Spanish-speaking parent/caretaker groups.

    • Thursday September 10th 10AM-12PM (English) is a session that will include two powerful stories of survival and recovery.

    For more information about these events, please visit the Solano County Behavioral Health Website. You can view the Event Flyer in English here and the Event Flyer in Spanish here.

    Please RSVP for the session/s you would like to attend by emailing and virtual meeting link will be sent to your email once you are registered.

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    Free Resource for BUSD Parents: Office Hours with the District Behaviorist

    Are your children engaging in behaviors that interfere with their ability to learn remotely?

    Our administrators and teaching staff have access to consultation with BUSD’s behaviorist, and now the same is available for BUSD parents.

    Examples of behaviors that interfere with learning remotely:

    • Skipping or refusing to attend online instructional sessions

    • Refusing to complete home assignments

    • Inappropriate language or off-topic comments in chat or using voice

    • Interrupting when supposed to be muted

    • Unauthorized use of another device during instruction, website surfing

    What to expect from the consultation:

    Via Zoom, the behaviorist will listen and then provide basic, best-practice tips and strategies for handling common behaviors seen during remote learning, and may share additional resources. If your child’s needs seem to be a result of mental health issues, or seem to require more intensive behavior support, she will put you in touch with a BUSD staff better suited to support you and your child.

    Office hours will be offered Mondays 10:30-12 and Fridays 1:00-2:30

    Please CLICK HERE to sign up for a 30 minute consultation


    Contact Jen Baker, MA, BCBA

    District Behaviorist

    CLICK HERE for Parent Resources

    Helping Your Children Engage in Distance Learning in Healthy and Productive Ways - a gathering of resources geared towards supporting parents in their efforts to support their children.

    Webinar Series: Making the Most out of Home Supports

    Dear BUSD parents,

    STAR Autism Support’s mission is to provide curriculum and training to help school staff successfully implement research-based applied behavior analysis (ABA) techniques. STAR Autism Support (SAS) wants every child with ASD, or any other developmental disability, to receive effective instruction, no matter where that instruction is taking place.

    Now, SAS has created a FREE webinar series (CLICK HERE) to support parents during distance learning (and beyond!) and provides a wealth of FREE downloadable and printable materials (CLICK HERE) to support what is learned in the series. These webinars are free and available online for parents to watch on their own.

    Because some parents may want a bit more support, BUSD will be providing a free workshop series for parents based on these informative webinars. Our district behaviorist will facilitate these workshops.

    Each topic area will be covered in two 60 minute sessions; an initial training and a follow-up.

    • Initial training sessions are intended to present new information and to share resources about an evidenced-based strategy that parents can use in the home setting. Each initial training session includes a screening of the SAS webinar, a review of the downloadable/printable resources, and a Q & A about the strategy presented.

    • Follow up sessions are designed for parents who have attended the Initial Training Session on a particular strategy and are implementing the target strategy. There will be an opportunity to ask the behaviorist questions, as well a chance for parents to share tips and tricks with one another. No new information will be presented in Follow up sessions.

    Topics & Dates:

    All workshops are free, and appropriate for any BUSD parent who has a child or teenager with Autism or other developmental disability, regardless of their current classroom placement. The schedule is on the next page. CLICK HERE to register and receive ZOOM ID

    Hope to see you there!

    Questions? Contact Jen Baker, MA, BCBA / District Behaviorist at

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    BHS Debate Team Starting Soon!

    BHS debate season has officially started! The team is open to anyone, regardless of prior experience. We'll cover everything you need to know about public forum debate during boot camp, our first meeting of the year. We are one of the few extracurricular activities that can transition to an online platform, so this year is the perfect time to improve your public speaking skills, better your research techniques, and increase your knowledge of current events. Anyone is welcome to come to boot camp and see if debate is something you might be interested in!

    Boot camp will be after school, via Zoom, from August 31 to September 4. For more information or to sign up, please contact Mrs. Gaines, the team advisor, at We hope to see you all there!

    Amazon Smile - An Easy Way to Donate to Your PTSA!

    Shopping on Amazon? Be sure to use Amazon Smile and select "Benicia High PTSA" as the charitable organization of your choice. A small percentage of your purchase will benefit Benicia High School thanks to the PTSA's projects, scholarships, and grants.

    Amazon Smile is now available on the Amazon app also!

    Parent Volunteers & Representatives Needed!

    BHS Parent Representative Needed for Parent Advisory Group

    BUSD is developing a Learning Continuity and Attendance Plan to mitigate learning loss, promote engagement and attendance, and to support mental wellness. Surveys went out recently to parents and students as part of stakeholder engagement. Benicia High School is looking for a parent representative to serve on the Parent Advisory Group which will contribute to the Learning Continuity and Attendance Plan process. The Parent Advisory Group reviews and monitors progress, and gives input into the goals and actions listed in the plan. If you are interested in representing Benicia High School, please email Asst. Superintendent Dr. Leslie Beatson at

    PTSA: Parent-Teacher-Student Association

    While many parents join the PTA & PTG when their students are in elementary school, high schools often do not see the same support. We ask that you and your student consider joining our PTSA and improving your student’s school experience by donating your time or resources to our programs. Learn more at the PTSA table at one of our back to school events or at a PTSA meeting (first Wednesday of each month at 6pm). Recent projects and programs sponsored by our PTSA include: library renovation, N-2 renovation, staff appreciation, Teacher Innovation Grants, Student Project Grant, and student scholarships. Seniors planning to apply for a PTSA scholarship must be a member to qualify. Join PTSA today!

    ELAC: English Language Advisory Committee

    BHS invites you to join our English Language Advisory Committee for parents/guardians, staff, and community members working together to support our students who are English Learners. This group will meet five times this year to discuss our current programs and supports, ideas for growth to strengthen our programs, explore ways to better connect with our families, and more. Meetings will be held on Tuesday evenings at 6:00pm, via Zoom during virtual learning. If you are interested in joining ELAC or have questions, please email Vice Principal Dwight Rogers at

    BHS Sports Update

    Benicia High School will follow the guidelines of the The California Interscholastic Federation (CIF), North Coast Section (NCS), and Diablo Athletic League (DAL) as our local competitive schedule is dictated by our group of schools.

    The CIF announced on July 20th that all high school sports are postponed until December or January. Sports will change from three seasons (Fall/Winter/Spring) to two seasons (Fall/Spring) with revised dates for practice and competition. No practices or in-person tryouts will be held until guidance from the CIF is received and we are cleared by our County Health officials.

    We currently have a tentative schedule for our Fall and Spring sports. We will provide updates and information via email and our monthly newsletter to all of our students and families as soon as that becomes available.

    FREE Opportunity for Female Student-Athletes

    In partnership with California Interscholastic Federation (CIF), Nike has announced the Mambacitas Virtual Academy opportunity for all girls ages 11-17. This Game Growers experience will take place on Saturday, August 29 from 12:00pm – 1:45 pm PDT.

    • 12:00pm PDT: Mambacita Virtual Academy. This experience will bring programming developed by Nike’s W.I.N. cohort to life, engaging girls in movement and wellness, and special appearances by athletes and influencers. This will kick off a series of Virtual Academy programming on Saturdays in September and October. Girls can register through the link below.
    • 1:15pm PDT: Game Growers Film Premiere. The Game Growers film, a short inspiration piece that highlights Season One, will launch following the Mambacita Academy. This film will tell the story of girls across the country who are striving to create more opportunities for girls in sports.

    Registration Link

    The Paw - Benicia High School's Student Newspaper

    Stay in the know with our online newspaper; including student articles about school news, arts & entertainment, sports, opinion pieces, politics and more. You can also access Panther TV, with weekly episodes on all that's happening at Benicia High!

    Upcoming Events at Benicia High School

    • Friday, September 4th: First Progress Report via PowerSchool
    • Monday, September 7th: Holiday - No School
    • Friday, September 18th: Virtual Panther Rally
    • Friday, September 25th: Virtual Club Fair
    • Friday, October 2nd: Fun Fridays begin - Student activity every Friday
    • Tuesday, October 6th: Financial Aid Night (online) 6:30-7:30pm
    • Thursday, October 15th: End of First Quarter
    • Friday, October 16th: No School
    • Friday, October 23rd: First Quarter Grade Report via PowerSchool
    • Wednesday, November 11th: Holiday - No School
    • November 23-27: Thanksgiving Break - No School
    • December 18-January 3: Winter Break - No School
    • Thursday, January 14th: End of First Semester
    • Friday, January 15th: No School
    • Monday, January 18th: Holiday - No School
    • Friday, January 22nd: First Semester Grade Report via PowerSchool
    • Friday, February 12th: Holiday - No School
    • Monday, February 15th: Holiday - No School
    • Friday, March 19th: End of Third Quarter
    • Friday, March 26th: Third Quarter Grade Report via Power School
    • April 2-11: Spring Break
    • May 3-14: AP Exams (date determined by subject)
    • Friday, May 31st: Holiday - No School
    • Friday, June 4th: Last Day of School & End of Second Semester
    • Saturday, June 5th: Class of 2021 Graduation

    Apply Now: 2021 Prudential Spirit of Community Awards

    Call for Entries: Apply by November 10, 2020

    We know there are amazing students at Benicia High School who are leading by example through volunteering in our community. We want to share an opportunity to recognize students and their contributions by encouraging students to apply for the 2021 Prudential Spirit of Community Awards.

    This program was established in 1995 and has recognized more than 140,000 youth volunteers. To qualify, students must:

    • Be in grades 5-12
    • Have participated in a volunteer activity after September 1, 2019
    • Complete and submit an online application by November 10, 2020 (applications will be reviewed and certified by school administration)

    CLICK HERE to learn more and to apply online

    Free Meals for Students through December 31st

    Congress has approved the waiver for free meals for children under 18 until December 31st. Any child under 18 will be able to receive breakfast and lunch for free. CLICK HERE for more information.

    Please begin by filling out the initial participation form LINKED HERE if you have not already done so. There are three ways to pick up meals for students:

    1. Daily Meal Pickup: You may pick-up meals every day Monday-Friday at any of the school sites. Your child will receive lunch for that day and breakfast for the next morning.
    2. Early Meal Pickup: You may pick up meals early in the morning at Benicia High School at 7:00AM-9:00AM. If you are interested in the early meal pick-up, please SIGN UP USING THIS FORM and pick a pick-up time that is convenient for you. Please note that these meals will have to be reheated/prepared at home. We will provide heating/preparation instructions with those meals.
    3. Multi-Day Meal Packages: Starting Monday September 14th, multi-day meal packages will be available for pick up at Benicia High School on Mondays and Wednesdays. For Mondays, we will provide a two day supply of meals (Meals for Monday & Tuesday). For Wednesdays, we will provide a three-day supply of meals (Meals for Thursday, Friday, & Monday). These meals will be available to pick-up early in the morning and in the afternoon. Early Service Window: 7:00, 7:30, 8:00, 8:30, & 9:00. Midday Service Window: 11:00, 11:30, 12:00, & 1:00. To pick-up these meal packages, you would need to sign up at the link below.

    Have questions? Please contact Food & Nutrition Services Director Tania Courtney at (707) 748-2758 or email her at You can also visit the BUSD Food & Nutrition Services website.

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    District programs, activities, and practices shall be free from unlawful discrimination, including discrimination against an individual or group based on race, color, ancestry, nationality, national origin, immigration status, ethnic group identification, ethnicity, age, religion, marital status, pregnancy, false pregnancy, termination of pregnancy, or related recovery, parental status, physical or mental disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, gender expression, or genetic information; a perception of one or more of such characteristics; or association with a person or group with one or more of these actual or perceived characteristics.

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