The San Ramon school district is getting tough on bullies.
The district recently reviewed its policy and has established clear protocols to follow in case of "bullying, cyberbullying, harassment of students, hazing (and) other threats of violence against students and staff," according to a new policy.
"Districts are now required to implement a harassment and anti-bullying policy," explained spokesman Terry Koehne. "We went through our ex policy, to not only to meet the requirement, but also to capture the kinds of things we are doing as a district to maintain safe campuses."
Koehne said safety is the district's number-one priority. He said if students don't feel safe, they can't learn.
"It happens and it happens far too often, but we're doing everything we can to minimize that and to make sure we have things in place to deal with them," he said.
But he added that it's more than just a school problem.
"It's a societal issue," Koehne said. "Kids feeling or being intimidated by other students, based on -- fill in the blank: based on religion, based on sex orientation or perceived sexual orientation, based on gender, based on race, based on culture."
Specifically, the district now has clear channels to follow in case of bullying.
"One of the new things that the policy does is it names a person (who handles complaints), Koehne said, adding that person is Jessica Romero, the district's assistant superintendent of human resources. "We go a little bit further and make sure that each school has a designee that serves as a coordinator."
He said the principal at each school will serve as designee.
Simply put, if a student or employee at any of the district's schools feels threatened or harassed, that person can tell any staff member, who will forward the information to the principal, who will work with the coordinator to investigate the complaint.
Koehne said the policy formalizes the systems that have been in place at schools, and added, "Its nothing that indicates all the things we are doing by any stretch."
But he said the revised policy does make one thing explicit:
"We teach tolerance but we don't tolerate hatred."