Schools face bullying head on with prevention strategies

District schools hosting assemblies to give students the skills to avoid being targeted
By: Gloria Beverage, Placer Herald Editor
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While some children may not be able to verbalize that they’ve been targeted by a bully, they know their feelings have been hurt or that they’re feeling uncomfortable.
Studies have shown that bullies thrive on campuses where cliques and chaos exist, said Linda Rooney, Rocklin Unified School District Assistant Superintendent of Student Services.
“That’s not the case in Rocklin,” she added.
As a way of gauging the safety of the school campuses, the district has partnered with the Coalition for Placer Youth to conduct a survey of fifth, seventh-, ninth- and eleventh-grade students.
“It will give us some indication of how well students have resiliency skills to be able to recognize when they could be the subject of a bully,” Rooney said.
Throughout October, Bully Prevention Month, Rocklin Unified Schools are also hosting a variety of assemblies and classroom activities aimed at giving students the tools to avoid being targeted either on campus or online.
Elementary school teachers use the curriculum, “I Keep Safe,” to teach students how to protect themselves, particularly from cyber-bullies, explained Rooney.
Both middle schools held assemblies that focused on how to respond to verbal and online attacks.
“The 7/8 student assemblies held last week on bullying
prevention and cyber-safety gave students specific strategies and skills in responding to bullying situations they may encounter at school and online,” said Laura Grassman, assistant principal at Spring View Middle School. “Students left with a clear understanding of the power of the bystander in dramatically changing a situation for the victim as well as the effect of the bully.”
That point was driven home with the presentation of the March 2011 Dateline episode, “My Kid Would Never Bully,” which puts the spotlight on the role of the bystander, she said.
The assemblies were pro-active and relevant to students who have incorporated technology and social networking into their lives, Grassman continued.
Spring View Middle School Principal Marty Flowers viewed the assemblies as another way to keep students safe on campus.
“We want our students to be able to focus on their education and not be worried about bullying or caught up in drama that occurs via Facebook or texting,” said Flowers. “In order to provide that type of environment, we need to provide them with strategies on how to handle difficult situations.”
Grassman has organized a parent information night as a follow up to the middle school assemblies.
Open to parents of middle and high school students, the information night will be held from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Tuesday at Sunset Center, 2650 Sunset Blvd.
A panel of experts will offer tips on how to effectively deal with incidents of bullying as well as explain how to monitor the internet and cell phones.
“We want parents to understand the strategies and tools they can use in supporting their children’s emotional and social well-being through middle and high school,” Grassman said. “With an exceptional panel, experts will share concrete information about bullying prevention and cyber-safety — two incredibly powerful topics in our students’ lives.”
On hand for the presentation will be Rocklin Unified School District Board President Greg Daley, District Deputy Assistant Superintendent of Student Services Linda Rooney and Placer County Supervising Assistant District Attorney Suzanne Gazzaniga.
Other participants include Placer County Coordinator for the Multidisciplinary Interview Center Fiona Tuttle, Christy Crandall, speaking on behalf of The Parent Project and Rocklin Police School Resource Officers Jay Newton and Elizabeth Davis.
Bullying Prevention and Cyber-Safety meeting
Parents of middle and high school students
When: 6:30 to 8 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 25
Where: Sunset Center, 2650 Sunset Blvd.