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SRVUSD gets aggressive with bullies

Original post made on Dec 28, 2010

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.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Monday, December 27, 2010, 7:20 PM

Comments (32)

Posted by Parent of a bullied child, a resident of Alamo
on Dec 28, 2010 at 12:53 am

Terry,

My child has been a victim of "pervasive bullying" at SRVUSD schools, and district.

As per your quote: "We teach tolerance but we don't tolerate hatred." The sentence is a fallacy in our case; my child has been a victim of hate by an administrator at one of the high schools. I have a police report available for your viewing which is also available in Martinez.

As you mentioned the district has been having an effective policy known as the UCP a form of formal CDE recommended remediation to solve the allegations of discrimination, and evaluated by the district to be classified as racial discrimination. There isn't a policy on bullying specifically. However the scars the bullying and hate leave in the student is irreversible. Bullying is a form of torture in which the bullies (ies) are empowered by SRVUSD, when they do not enforce a disciplinary action against the aggressor, perpetrator or abuser. SRVUSD does not follow a recommendation or evaluation by a mental health professional to correct the behavior of the perpetrator, which will be an evaluation that could be assessed by a professional who could determine if the bully has prior mental health issues, and could verify if the bully is a danger to himself or others by the prescriptions prescribed or illegally obtained, they do not report (ed) to the district upon their enrollment.

My child has been a victim of bullying many times, and infliction of injury has been caused.

Our family was a victim of a terror threat from the bullying recently.

My child was bullied at school and nothing was done to stop or prevent the bullying, two years later the bullies continued the bullying in a form that is threat to the safety of our community.

This is a true story, and for those who feel that bullying does not exist, well you are wrong!
My child was a victim of hate, and it was tolerated by the district. The administrator was removed and later transferred to another high school (not Becky Smith).

Bullying should be reported to the local law enforcement (Local PD, FBI, HLS) immediately without hesitation and do not think that because SRVUSD is nestled into wealth that bullying does not happen.

Sincerely,

Parent of a bullied child

P.S. Terry feel free to share your comments


Posted by parent, a resident of another community
on Dec 28, 2010 at 6:12 am

We also experienced bullying in a subtle but none the less traumatic form when our child changed elementary schools within the District due to a move by us. A fellow classmate would whisper things like" I hate you, I wish you hadn't come here, I'm going to get you," etc. We reported it first to the teacher who seemed like a deer in the headlights when I told her. Once it was clear that she was not going to monitor the problem we moved on to the principal for help. While she was very sympathetic and said the right things about it not being tolerated, etc, it continued. After a few more weeks of this and no changes we requested a transfer in the District and our child has been happy at the new school ever since. It is my sincere hope that the principals who are supposed to be the advocates for the bullied students will feel empowered to act upon their new duties without concern for retaliation and that they will be properly trained on how to diffuse a situation which may include moving students to different classrooms and having consequences for the perpetrator.


Posted by Rick Pshaw, a resident of Danville
on Dec 28, 2010 at 6:55 am

Not good enough. Name names! Which school and teacher? What is the name of the principal? Which administrator was it?

These people will never change until their rock is turned over.


Posted by Tom Cushing, a resident of Danville
on Dec 28, 2010 at 8:25 am

This policy is an excellent First step. Its impact will be determined by its Implementation -- enforcement and reinforcement, up and down the grades.

Thanks to the School Board and District Administration for pursuing this critically important issue.

So far, so good.


Posted by Marie, a resident of Danville
on Dec 28, 2010 at 9:25 am

I see bullying all over town. I am very involved with my children's schools and I have seen that the bullies usually have parents that are bullies themselves. I see it in sports, especially well run organizations here in Danville, where coaches make inappropriate comments. I have seen SRVUSD administration/principal side with the defense just because they position themselves into a role where they build themselves up as the volunteer savior of the school. Similar as a child predator places him/herself in close proximity to children (teacher, coach, scouts, etc.).

Bullies are very confident and manipulative. They know how to pick their victims. They know how to talk themselves out of trouble. They especially know how to go home and lie to their parents. I have seen many Danville parents get very defensive of their children without even talking to them.

Danville has become a very plastic town. I try not to discriminate, but when I see a Barbie-look-alike, I try to have my family keep their distance. I also don't want my child to be best friends with someone who is given everything they want without earning anything. These children and families think the world revives around them.

We are all very fortunate to live in such a beautiful town, but you will not see my family flaunting our money; also, my children know the value of money and how to respect others and other's property. I know my children will make bad choices in their teenage years, but we will be there to teach them and walk them through it.


Posted by sharon, a resident of Danville
on Dec 28, 2010 at 9:48 am

Our son was a victim of bullying for 4 years in a private school in Danville. They had policies in place but they were not enforced. The parents of the bullies were active doners to the school and the administration did not want to rock the boat with them. My son felt it was of no use to tell on the perpetrators since they were never punished. He stopped telling and one day things went too far.He told the principal of the sexual battery that was taking place over many months. The these things need to be stopped early on in the grade schools so the middle school years the bullies don't gain strength and become felons in there teens! It has to start at home with the parents discipline and respect of others being taught.


Posted by Robert, a resident of Greenbrook Elementary School
on Dec 28, 2010 at 10:06 am

SRVUSD also needs to consider their own teachers that bully children.


Posted by Marie, a resident of Danville
on Dec 28, 2010 at 11:18 am

I'm sorry Sharon. Donating parents is another problem here in Danville. Was it the Christian Academy?


Posted by Marcia, a resident of Greenbrook Elementary School
on Dec 28, 2010 at 11:27 am

I am grateful that the school has not gone to a zero tolerance policy because those types of policies fail everyone.

However-I would like to see a definition of bullying by the district that recognizes that kids will make mistakes in their language and behavior. My fear with the young, inexperienced teachers or those who don't have their own children, or those who just don't "get" or "like" kids-will act overzealously and label misbehavior as bullying. Especially against the boys. The educational system is already tipped to favor girls-and my fear is that this anti-bullying campaign will lead to more suppression of students due to fear of NOT being politically correct.

I,in no way, support true bullying but if the district does not educate teachers, staff, and principals on TRUE bullying instead of circumstantial behavior-they will fail all of us.


Posted by Marie, a resident of Danville
on Dec 28, 2010 at 11:40 am

Marcia is completely right!

I have seen many kids "labeled" as bad kids, just because they are a little harder to handle. I can see the difference between ADD/ADHD kids and mean kids, most teachers can't. The word "aggressive" is also misused a lot by teachers and parents who are not educated on childhood behaviors. ADD/ADHD children are not bad children, they are misunderstood. They don't think about consequences; however, the manipulating bully hurts everyone intentionally.


Posted by Jessica Lipsky, a resident of Danville
on Dec 28, 2010 at 12:06 pm

Thank you all for posting your experiences - this is an extremely important subject and I appreciate all the personal insight.

Both the Danville and San Ramon Expresses will have more on this new policy as the school year continues; we're currently waiting for the SRVUSD board to solidify plans. There was a great deal of back-and-forth at this month's meeting (which included a restructuring of the original proposal and a call for more detail)and we'll bring you the latest details as soon as possible.

Until then, stay tuned!

Jessica Lipsky
Editor


Posted by Derek, a resident of Danville
on Dec 28, 2010 at 3:07 pm

I almost never ever agree with Rick, but I too feel public embarrassment is a very effective tool. Marie is also correct about the apple often falling near the tree, so name the parents too!
Yeah, I know. There are legal concerns. No one including the Danville Express wants to be sued. But once in a while maybe we can throw caution to the wind?


Posted by Robert, a resident of Greenbrook Elementary School
on Dec 28, 2010 at 4:51 pm

Marcia and Marie, though I agree that some behaviors can be challenging for teachers and therefore mislabeled, and that some children face special challenges in controlling their own behavior. Yet, when these behaviors serve to harm another child the result is the same to the child harmed regardless of motivation. A child on the receiving end of frequent racial epithets or blows to the head doesn't feel less stressed if the perpetrator has additional challenges.

Marcia, to clarify - what do you consider "circumstantial behavior" that sometimes gets mislabeled as bullying?


Posted by Marie, a resident of Danville
on Dec 28, 2010 at 7:40 pm

Robert, I understand your point of view, but I disagree. I do think it is much more damaging when it is intentional. For example, when a bully is mentally abusing someone, it can take a life time to get over it (if you ever do).

On the other hand, when you have a 1st or 2nd grader with ADD/ADHD who is constantly moving and therefore accidentally hitting a classmate, those children learn to keep one step away. Plus, there is a difference between accidentally being in the way of a moving hand or foot and an intentional punch to the face or kick in the leg. Intentional hurts more; it has more force, and probably includes mental abuse also.

Another difference, ADD/ADHD children can learn to control him/herself, a bully only becomes a bigger bully.


Posted by Marcia, a resident of Greenbrook Elementary School
on Dec 28, 2010 at 8:47 pm

Circumstantial:

A game of keep away.

Not letting kids play with you @ recess because you don't feel like letting them play with you.

I know many of you will not agree with these two examples-but that's OK. When my kid was "rejected" from a game or gets called names from other kids...I encourage him to stand up for himself and to NOT run to the parent volunteers who monitor recess. (whole different problem).

I don't agree with you about the harm of a child...intentional (malicious) as opposed to circumstantial (I hate to say this..but kids being kids). They are totally different. We have been on both ends and I just look for the life lesson. Most of the time-it's sticking up for oneself as the life lesson. We cannot evaluate kids with adult values and morals. They are kids. We can encourage them to learn from their mistakes, let them deal with the consequences of their choices (losing friends, losing recess time, being punished at home for misbehavior). Most child psychologists agree that kids cannot be RATIONAL until they are 11-13 (girls earlier, boys latter). Yet we subject them to adult expectations ALL DAY LONG.

I have seen the girls at this school get out of trouble whereby superimposing greater punishment on the boys who were equally involved. Does their smarter-than-boys intellect mean that they are bullying? I don't think so. I just tell my son to wise up. However, back to my original point-I worry about labels when the district doesn't specifically identify what they are "being aggressive" towards.

And again, I know there are severe cases of bullying at all schools-and I hope the district educates their staff, teachers, and principals on HOW to deal with it and NOT to lump all mischievous behavior into one category: bullying.


Posted by Robert, a resident of Greenbrook Elementary School
on Dec 28, 2010 at 11:00 pm

Marcia, I guess I am thick headed or maybe we just see things differently, but I don't understand how playing keep away or not wanting to play with someone at recess constitutes anything that might be construed as bullying, but maybe that is the point you are making? I also think that accidentally bumping in to another child once in awhile is very different from repeatedly doing the same - intentional or not, the result to the child on the receiving end of the behavior is still stressful.

Interesting that we are both part of the Greenbrook community. My son is now in high school, but was also bullied at Greenbrook. He did a good job of handling it when it was by another student, but when his teacher was being verbally abusive we got involved (though the principal at that time and the teacher's union representative were no help at all) as did many other parents of other kids who were being bullied by this teacher as well. Frankly, I think this was much more damaging.

It's great that the district is taking this issue seriously. I just hope they also consider the actions of some of the teachers as well.


Posted by Anon, a resident of Danville
on Dec 29, 2010 at 1:35 am

Bullying is a form of control by those in power
to assert their superiority over other groups and individuals
who do not conform to dominant culture.

It is usually the mainstream crowd, the athletic, popular, good-looking, sociable. Through ostracism, rejection, and humiliation, bullies seek to assert their power and their identity in contrast with the outgroups.

This only creates the cliques in high school campuses and deprives people of their individuality. Its not the job of schools to teach this, its through pop culture, media, and family that encourage bullying and "winner-loser" mentality. These individuals fail to gain empathy of people different than themselves and this harbors bigotry and self-righteousness.

Look at the epithets adolescents throw nowadays, "fag" , "retard" , "slut", "bitch." Rudeness is the norm and students are more direspectful towards their peers and authorities. Perhaps their learned it from their parents, who behave in similar ways in the workplace. Its rampant across American culture: sporting events, shopping malls, and politics.


Posted by Robert, a resident of Greenbrook Elementary School
on Dec 29, 2010 at 6:34 am

I think bullies are often people without power and other attributes considered desirable, that bully in order to put someone in a lower position than themselves.

As a counter to this thread, just wanted to mention the article on the students that raised over $20,000 for kids in Uganda. There are plenty of great kids out there that live in this district as well.


Posted by districtemployee, a resident of Alamo
on Dec 29, 2010 at 7:16 am

The district tolerates and rewards bullying by the community. They've learned it's the way to get what they want and it is. I've heard students say the same. I wonder where they learn it? At home and it's reinforced at school.

I believe this is lip service and nothing will change. My own child was physically attacked at school and the superintendent's office never answered my emails at all.


Posted by beyondit, a resident of Stone Valley Middle School
on Dec 30, 2010 at 9:56 pm

Several years ago, my daughter was bullied, led by one girl who incited most of the others. My daughter was poked by pins when she was playing during recess (SV was a 3-8 school then), tripped, called names, etc. The school tried to stop it, with no success. We transferred her to Rancho Romero where she thrived. Meanwhile, at SV, the administration tried to do some group work to stop the bully mentality, but the parents refused to permit their little darlings to be in the group because "they didn't need psychological help". These same parents also refused to let my daughter join the Girl Scout troop because "it was full", although other girls came into it later on. I blame the parents more than the kids, and to this day have trouble being courteous and friendly to those parents.


Posted by Marie, a resident of Danville
on Dec 31, 2010 at 7:43 am

Beyondit: I feel for you and understand. There are many plastic moms here in Danville leading the next generation of little mean girls. It is disgusting! I can't look those mothers in the face either.

As for the Scout thing…appalling…you should have gone to the district, they should not be leaders!


Posted by Chava, a resident of Danville
on Dec 31, 2010 at 7:43 pm

I know 3 kids who where being bullied for years, at different schools. SRVUSD "solved" the problem by "allowing" the kids to transfer to other schools.

What? That's not a solution. That's not "zero tolerance." That's moving the problem somewhere else!

And that stinks.


Posted by districtemployee, a resident of Alamo
on Jan 2, 2011 at 7:15 am

SRVUSD will let your child and you get away with anything if you donate money. It's disgusting. The "rules" apply to no one who challenges them and it's wrong at all levels. I don't know if all school districts are similar but I know this one is.


Posted by Marie, a resident of Danville
on Jan 2, 2011 at 2:34 pm

I agree 100% with districtemployee. I am so sad to say, I have witnessed it. I have seen parents pay off their child's mistakes, without any consequence for the child. How are these children going to learn? Oh, yea, they learn they can do whatever they want as long as they have money.

Sorry to be so negative. There are some really great parents here in Danville, you just have to look hard. When you find them, don't let them go, because they are true friends that you can trust.


Posted by Community Observer, a resident of San Ramon
on Jan 2, 2011 at 10:14 pm

Sadly it boils down to:

Talk is cheap, action is expensive.

With the economy today, what do you think is going to happen? It's easier to appease the parents of the bullied child with talk of how it will not be tolerated, than it is to confront the parents of the bully who will claim their child is innocent and will threaten a lawsuit.

Beyond sad, clearly pathetic.


Posted by sharon, a resident of Danville
on Jan 3, 2011 at 10:43 am

marie, the private school was not the Christian Academy. It was a Catholic School. After the boys involved were "punished" by staying home and having parties. My son still cannot be around them. If we see them at church he goes the other way or leaves. I have a hard time even looking at the parents. We received no apology from the parents of the boys involved. The boys confessd in writing also. It was not "here-say" It happened! Although many seem to deny it.


Posted by Marie, a resident of Danville
on Jan 3, 2011 at 2:43 pm

Sharon: Again, I am sorry & your son is in my prayers.

I could be wrong again, but I am guessing it is St. Isidore. I have heard they have 36 kids per class compared to 20-35 kids in public, and 20-25 at the Christian Academy. Do you think he got lost in the crowd? I have heard of the large donations (tens of thousands of dollars) at that school.

Did you ever think about legal action? I'm sure you have some details that you would prefer to keep private or maybe just want it to be over, but I'm sure the kids/families at the school have all talked about it, so maybe it can bring some power back to your son if the truth gets out there. My guess is that it is your word against the other family, so legal action may shed some truth and shadows on the other family.

Personally, I'm tired of seeing Danville families bully and manipulate others. I'm tired of parents paying off damages or pretending it never happened, just to save their precious Danville reputation.


Posted by Robert, a resident of Greenbrook Elementary School
on Jan 3, 2011 at 3:06 pm

Sharon, I'm so sorry your son went through what he did. My son was repeatedly bullied by other students as well, one of who went on to assault (was convicted) a high school girl. I do believe that their parents not getting involved succeeded only in these kids getting more out of control. We actually pursued therapy for our son, who is now a very well adjusted and kind person, with many friends - he would not intentionally hurt anyone and I believe he has a bright future. I hope this brings some comfort to you - if someone had told me my son would grow to be the confident person he is, given the bullying he endured, I never would have believed it. Do keep faith.


Posted by Marie, a resident of Danville
on Jan 3, 2011 at 3:57 pm

Robert, do you have any advice on how to help a child who has been bullied regain some self-confidence? Therapy, faith, both? Did your son transfer to a new school? It sounds like you are a good parent, I'm sure that also helped.


Posted by Robert, a resident of Greenbrook Elementary School
on Jan 3, 2011 at 6:53 pm

Marie, thanks but I think I lucked out and married a great wife who is a great mom! We signed our son up for martial arts (my idea) which was the wrong thing for him - he knew hitting was bad. We then signed him up for a program called "kidpower" via a santa cruz based organization. It helped tremendously in terms of how to reframe the verbal bullying and how to avoid getting bullied and how to respond if/when it happens. We later signed our daughter up for a college safety course through them as well.

Our son didn't transfer but it came very close to that. We did learn that there is safety in numbers so when he met another boy who was well liked/adjusted we helped bring that friendship along by providing rides to/from school for him since he was a latch key kid - they remain best friends today. And, yes, the therapy helped - just 3 visits but it was well worth it.


Posted by Marie, a resident of San Ramon
on Jan 3, 2011 at 7:33 pm

Robert, that was very helpful. Thank you! I now know that you are a good Dad and husband, just by the way you talk! 3 visits, gives everyone hope. I am going to search Kidpower now. Thanks again.


Posted by Robert, a resident of Greenbrook Elementary School
on Jan 4, 2011 at 8:43 am

Marie, I'm glad our experience might help a bit. Our son also found a group of friends by joining drama groups over the summer - I think finding something you are good at that also provides a circle of friends is a great thing as well. All the best!


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