Bullying a priority for SRVUSD Schools & Kids, posted by Editor, Danville Weekly Online, on Jan 14, 2013 at 12:40 pm
For years, bullying was seen as no big deal, and for many, a rite of passage. Freshmen were hazed by seniors, and when they became seniors those same freshmen hazed the incoming class. But as the after-effects of bullying became better known, schools across the country began taking steps to solve the bully problem.
Read the full story here Web Link posted Monday, January 14, 2013, 8:36 AM
Posted by Sara, a resident of the Danville neighborhood, on Jan 14, 2013 at 12:40 pm
This year, when I reported incidents about my daughter being bullied to the school principal, I was dismissed as being a crazy parent and my daughter was labeled as being overly sensitive. So, I called and wrote a letter to the Superintendent of Schools. I was referred to a gentleman in the superintendant's office, who once again dismissed my complaint. He actually told me that “kids will be kids" and if I was concerned, I could move my "sensitive" child somewhere else. Go figure!
Posted by Tom Cushing, a resident of the Alamo neighborhood, on Jan 14, 2013 at 2:13 pm
@Glenn (and Sara):
In late 2010, the SRVUSD Board adopted anti-bullying policies 5137 and 5145.3, set forth here: Web Link When my daughters attended MV and SRV, both were active in anti-bullying student initiatives, and I felt I owed it to them by testimony to suggest to the Board that those policies sounded awfully passive. They really didn't commit the District officials to do much of anything active or positive to promote acceptance -- just take incidents seriously, in arrears. I said it was a Policy tailor-made to sit in somebody's file drawer, and make no difference whatsoever.
I was assured, at the time, that at the implementing stage, age-and-grade-appropriate affirmative activities would be undertaken at every level to ensure that the policy was clearly understood by students and staff alike, and to foster the positive learning environment those policies call-for.
Now, it's been two years -- howsabout a follow-up story -- to examine whether those positive implementing steps have been taken (or conversely, which file cabinets contain the policies)?
Posted by Bill, a resident of the Danville neighborhood, on Jan 15, 2013 at 7:01 am
The schools have been an abject failure in dealing with bullying. They develop good sounding programs and invite in useless non-profits to deal with the issues however they are touching just the tip of the iceberg. The experiences of those above are more the rule than the exception. This is a good old boys and girls system, so if you are referred a private counselor by the school beware. If they are an avid advocate for your child their referrals will dry up. Find a counselor that deals with attorneys and has intestinal fortitude. Ask them if they will go to the school and advocate for your child. If the answer in no, move on quickly.
Posted by Chris, a resident of the Danville neighborhood, on Jan 15, 2013 at 9:10 am
This is so sad. I'm tired of no one taking responsibility, especially the schools.
My daughter was bullied by students , she told her teacher.
The sad thing is, this teacher did nothing to help her. In fact it was the opposite.
She sided with the girls that were attacking her. Telling my daughter to deal with
It. Really ???? I went to the principle and they said that I would have to move my daughter from the class. I question why move her, she did nothing wrong. I found out why, those girls were on a "special " treatment plan. They needed a little extra help in the classroom, and moving them would harm them!!!!
What about the bullying ???? There was no answer. I removed her from school all together.
Posted by AMom, a resident of the Danville neighborhood, on Jan 15, 2013 at 9:13 am
Catherine and Grandma are absolutely right. My daughter had a teacher in elementary school that bullied her and once did it right in front of me! We ended up having a meeting with administrators and the teacher admitted that my daughter reminded her of 'her when she was younger' and apparently not in a good way. My son also had a teacher, that bullied her students. I heard her speak to one disabled student like he was an animal. Yes, I know teachers are human, but she treated her entire class horribly as well.
To any parent, if your child cries and doesn't want to attend school, don't assume it's always a problem with another child bullying, it could very well be the teacher.
That said, I'm very supportive the majority of teachers that sacrifice and make an impact our our children. My reference is only to those few who are teaching when they are clearly unhappy with their job.
Posted by Los Cerros Monte Vista Parent, a member of the Los Cerros Middle School community, on Jan 15, 2013 at 9:28 am
Teachers who are blatant bullies have been tolerated in this district, even after reports to principals and counselors. My child was singled out by a Los Cerros teacher the first day of school, and was bullied mercilessly by that science teacher. That science teacher's friend just happened to be the elementary teacher who called students "stupid" in class. Many of these women's students verified the comments made about targeted students in their classes.
When the principal was told, her comment was "I'm tired of hearing negative comments about my teachers." Wow. Perhaps another attitude could be "Maybe there is something to this?" Other teachers at Los Cerros were well aware of this science teacher's behavior towards students, and would apologize for her.
At Monte Vista, teachers have asked my student's grade in a class that the teacher doesn't teach, out loud in front of the entire class. Teachers declare that they hate teaching to the students, they hate being there, even ridicule the student's name to the class.
An MV math teacher told my student "You'll never do well in the next class. You will just fail." I told my student that success in that next class is the best way to show him that he is wrong.
My children went through both of these schools. They had some of the same teachers, but comments about the teachers have remained constant. Certain teachers are bullies, saying spirit-crushing comments to the most academically vulnerable students who are trying to maintain grades that will get them into college.
A large number of students transferred to SRVHS this year from MVHS. I do not know if it was because of bullying from other students, but I would suspect that it is more due to bullying from teachers.
Along the way at Los Cerros and Monte Vista, there have also been some stellar teachers, who re-energized my students, and helped support them in their studies. My children always did their personal best for those teachers, because there was positive interaction between teacher and student.
Thank you to all the parents who commented on the bullying teachers. Maybe it is more rampant than we all realized, or maybe it is just at Los Cerros and Monte Vista. The atmosphere is better at MV since Mrs. Terranova came on board, but there is still room for improvement.
Posted by Joe, a member of the Monte Vista High School community, on Jan 15, 2013 at 3:58 pm
Parents, it starts at home. Please don't just blame the teachers. Take and own the responsibility of being a parent. Put your own life in order before you blame others. My kids went thru LC and MVHS. I speak of what I saw and heard as a parent. The attitude, disrespect, rudeness and lack of responsibility for ones own actions often mirrors their parents behavior. Teachers can't do your job of parenting. Teaching of values and ethics must come from home.
Posted by Diane, a resident of the Danville neighborhood, on Jan 15, 2013 at 4:43 pm
I'm so sorry for parents and kids who are going through this right now. My son was bullied at Charlotte Wood, and the staff handled it very well. I can't say that it stopped completely, but they did all that I thought was possible to support him. He later went to SRVHS and was bullied by a teacher who is no longer teaching there - that was really awful, as he bullied other students also and there was no action taken that I know of (he left to pursue another career).
I really hope this dialogue results in meaningful action being taken to effect meaningful change.
Posted by Shannon, a resident of the Danville neighborhood, on Jan 15, 2013 at 7:28 pm
@Los Cerros Monte Vista parent,my daughter had the same science teacher when she went to Los Cerros. My daughter is now in her mid-20's, so I am really hopeful that teacher has since retired. The school really needed to step in, and they didn't at all.
Posted by Julia, a resident of the Alamo neighborhood, on Jan 16, 2013 at 10:22 am
Oh...And by the way...there are many more students bullied by teachers than by other students...that is a fact.
I always told my children, if student attempts to physically harm you...pop them one the first time it happens. You will get their attention and their respect right off the start. Never turn the other cheek.
But I do agree with Joe...just look around at parents attitudes. You see it every where...Safeway, Starbucks Etc. Etc.
Thanks again for listening, Julia Pardini from Alamo
Posted by Kathy, a member of the Charlotte Wood Middle School community, on Jan 16, 2013 at 11:14 am
My son was bullied both physically and mentally by students and mentally bullied by a couple of teachers, as well. The bullying went on pretty much all three years.
There were times when the school staff stepped in to help. But usually bullies do not bully where they can be seen by anyone with authority and fellow students are intimidated by possibly facing the same treatment if they "tell".
I was hoping that my daughter would face less bullying due to the schools focus on all aspects of bullying in recent years. Not so,the "mean girl" culture of teasing, taunting, secrets and exclusion is still alive and thriving at school.
Sometimes my daughter sits and eats alone in the lunchroom and gets teased from afar! So sad. I will continue to give her the tools to cope and deal with the situation, but what a way to have to "endure" school. A very difficult environment in which to learn and thrive.
Posted by Catherine, a resident of the Danville neighborhood, on Jan 16, 2013 at 4:39 pm
First, enough with this PC garbage in the classroom (rainbow flags and all), and second, our students should have First Amendment rights no matter where they are. Teachers partially bully by making kids feel like they have to walk on egg shells to be sure they are always PC in the classroom and kissing their asses. Students should be allowed to have their own opinion about anything and not feel like they just need to be one of the programmed robots the teachers want.
Posted by Tony 'the Chin' Fallow, a resident of the Alamo neighborhood, on Jan 16, 2013 at 8:15 pm
Wow, this Jess Querious sounds like a smart-alec socialist know it all if you ask me. I don't want my kid bullied because he won't get a gay pride tattoo on his arm. I'd speak out more forcefully, but I don't want to wreck my kid's chances of getting into Cal State Chico.
Posted by Christopher, a member of the Charlotte Wood Middle School community, on Jan 16, 2013 at 8:41 pm
@Kathy... Hi. I am the Principal at Charlotte Wood and while this is not the forum for a discussion on it, I am very concerned to read about your daughter's school experience as you have described above. Can you please contact me at the school so that we can help the situation?
I do urge any of you who are experience this, especially at my school, to contact me or your school principal.
Posted by Sara, a member of the Alamo Elementary School community, on Jan 17, 2013 at 7:38 am
Kathy, my heart goes out to you and your family. Catherine it is your
callous attitude that creates the unbearable circumstances for Kathy's family. Sara
BTW Catherine, you are in error when you assume it is only gay teachers who have rainbow flags in their classrooms. There are many teachers who are open and affirmative and they are as straight as you are.
Posted by Catherine, a resident of the Danville neighborhood, on Jan 17, 2013 at 7:43 am
Jess - if you read my original post, I am going after the teachers and the fact that they use their classrooms as a bully pulpit so students are not free to express themselves when they disagree with the teacher. Our teachers should not be indoctrinating our students with their opinions, and for the students who brown nose (even if they really don't agree) they get treated with respect in the classroom, unlike those who speak up with their opinions. And, with regard to your list of questions, why don't you actually read the text of the First Amendment and educate yourself...
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."
Posted by Roy G Biv, a resident of another community, on Jan 17, 2013 at 9:13 am
Garsh, Catherine, assuming it's not attached to a pony, I think what that rainbow means is that the classroom is intended to be a hotbed of diversity -- you know, a kind of marketplace where all sorts of diverse ideas can be expressed and compete for acceptance.
Now, to make such a classroom safe for all, there's a certain minimum decency of mutual treatment required among all participants -- which means, among other things, No Bullying by Anyone, large, in-charge or otherwise.
Isn't that what the First Amendment is really all about?
Posted by Douglas, a resident of the Blackhawk neighborhood, on Jan 17, 2013 at 10:42 am
Unfortunately Roy G Biv, classrooms aren't a safe place for our students. Yesterday, my daughter came home from Diablo Vista having been ridiculed by one of her teachers for having a different opinion than the teacher during what was supposed an open political class discussion. And, on top of that, the teacher is allowed to her opinion, but she needs to have her facts correct which she didn't and therefore is poorly teaching our students.
With regard to the "mean girl" mentality, all of the middle schools are just awful, and from having good friends at Los Cerros and hearing what goes on there, I have to say Diablo Vista takes the crown on this topic, and the teachers just add to it with the massive favoritism that goes on at that school.
Finally, although it was not written very well, I think Catherine was trying to make the point that teachers are supposed to be unbiased and shouldn’t be forcing students to accept something that they don’t agree with. For instance, we all need to be tolerant of the homosexual community, but depending on your own beliefs you may think it is wrong and you shouldn’t be forced to think or speak otherwise. Although, it does not give one the right to verbally or physically abuse a homosexual student/person, just as it doesn’t give members of that group the right to harass those who think it is wrong as I have seen it BOTH ways.
Posted by Tony the Chin Fallow, a resident of the Alamo neighborhood, on Jan 17, 2013 at 12:00 pm
My kid's teacher announced to the class that Obama won the 2012 election "fair and square." My kid, naturally, disagreed and pointed to how the election was stolen and how the liberal media have been systematically covering up how ACORN registered over 8 million phoney voters. The teacher then started bullying my kid, telling him he's wrong.
Same with the periodic table in chemestry. My child knows it's a ruse, as it doesn't once mention God's hand in creating the universe. My kid's teacher teaches the table as if it were fact. When my kid disagrees, he gets beaten down with sudo arguments and others forms of bullying.
Hey people, read the Constitution! And, if you have one (you probably don't), read the Bible!!!!!!!!!
Posted by Sylence Dugood, a resident of the Danville neighborhood, on Jan 17, 2013 at 2:08 pm
Dear Tony (the Chin),
Your child should not be bullied. That would be wrong and misguided. A much better utilization of any human's time and effort would be to bully you for gross ignorance and wasting our time with your thoughts (should we even dignify them with such a designation).
Given your statements, I encourage you to not waste your time on such things as 'chemestry' or biology perhaps even education at large. You are clearly a societal savant with the enviable ability to vision things only a select few could ever hope to see with clarity. Surely your time is better served appreciating the rumblings of the echo chamber that graces the void between your ears.
Posted by Sharon, a resident of the Danville neighborhood, on Jan 17, 2013 at 6:55 pm
@Douglas, I'm so sorry your daughter had this experience at her school. I remember so well what it felt like to be the parent of a child that was being bullied and it can be gut wrenching.
I disagree in your interpretation of Catherine's post. In displaying a rainbow flag in the classroom, teachers are making clear that they do not discriminate against children that are LGBTQ. This is a population of children where we see so much depression and suicide, that any demonstration of acceptance can serve as a rare beacon of support for an oppressed and often bullied group. No one is saying everyone has to celebrate the LGBTQ population, but maybe having that flag in a classroom will be a message to the LGBTQ kids that they are accepted, and to the bullies/kids of intolerant parents who pass on their agenda, that intolerance and abuse will not be accepted in that classroom.
Posted by Douglas, a resident of the Blackhawk neighborhood, on Jan 18, 2013 at 8:00 am
From your posts, it sounds like you may be connected to the gay community somehow? Although bullying is not acceptable, you still need to realize that everyone is entitled to their opinion in or out of the classroom. You should also look at depression and suicide stats as the gay issues are only a small fraction of what causes depression and suicide rates among children/teens. All students need support for whatever their issues are and to continue to always focus on the gay community takes away from others who also need help and support.
Posted by Lori, a member of the Monte Vista High School community, on Jan 18, 2013 at 9:29 am
To Sara the first comment at the top;
I have been in this district for 14 years. What you experienced is standard SRVUSD treatment. They give lip service, don't allow you to speak at district level, minimize your concerns and bully! Keep pushing. Get others to stand with you. Go to the Board meetings and express your concerns and ask that these comments be recorded in the minutes. They are bullies and using their power to keep these items in check.
Lastly, teach your child to stand up to the bullies. My son was bullied in 4th grade to the tune of a deep cut on his shin. The principal called in the kid, his parent, the teacher, my son AND NOT ME! That was it. I had my husband teach our son how to take any kid down if they ever touched him again. I told our son to then call me and not speak to any administrator until I arrived. It happened again, he took the kid down and the kid never bothered him again. Nor did the admin get involved. The kids parents were big donors to the annual school auction....teach your kids to defend themselves and you be prepared to stand up and be "the crazy parent"...you have to be as courageous as you are asking your kid to be. Finally, stay involved in high school. Admin will tell you "they must learn to handle issues themselves"and negate parental involvement. I agree, kids need to learn to stand up with you watching and listening and intervening as necessary. Admin/teachers do not want parents around so admin/teachers can influence students.
Posted by Sharon, a resident of the Danville neighborhood, on Jan 18, 2013 at 9:45 am
@Douglas, I'm not sure what it means to be "connected" to the gay community. I'm a person who is straight, who (as most do) has family and friends in the LGBTQ community, who is a clinical social worker counseling individuals and family members with various issues (including those in the LGBTQ community, though they don't comprise a large amount of my practice). I'm very familiar with stats regarding who is more likely to die by suicide, and what is more likely to drive a person in that direction.
True, people are entitled to their opinions, even if those opinions appear homophobic, racist, etc. to others. Where I draw the line, is when those opinions affect the well being of others, especially children. If the risk of depression and suicide for children were increased for those who are LGBTQ (which is the case), wouldn’t it make sense to support them with a simple sign of tolerance, rather than “keep quiet” so to speak? If that helped one child to feel less of an outcast, would that not be worth the cost of a simple flag in the classroom?
Finally, I don't think that teachers "always" focus on the LGBTQ community. I believe that different teachers may have varied experience that leads them to feel that one group needs more support than another, so they may provide more silent (as with a flag being displayed, or some sort of quotation) support for that particular group. What is great, is that teachers are as varied as the students they teach, and with that kind of diversity it would stand to reason that various issues affecting their students would be supported in a variety of classrooms. It seems to me that parents who intolerant of LGBTQ children tend to be hypersensitive to signs of support for these kids, and feel that the support is over representative in relation to the problem. What a shame.
Posted by Douglas, a resident of the Blackhawk neighborhood, on Jan 18, 2013 at 10:23 am
You clearly answered my question in the affirmative and therefore have a very strong opinion for the one side. You are a perfect example of a person who bullies when you call parents who are tired of rainbow flags in the classrooms, silence days at school for the gay community, and advisory periods where gay bullying is the only thing discussed as hypersensitive. Really?1 What other group gets this special attention at school?
Posted by Sharon, a resident of the Danville neighborhood, on Jan 18, 2013 at 11:29 am
@Douglas - I'm a bully? Really? That's certainly a first!
Several years ago I worked with a group of teachers at one of the high schools to try to affect change toward a more tolerant attitude toward less common religious groups. Several of the kids in the school were being bullied due to their faith. When my son was a student, there was an effort to bring awareness to the struggles related to students with developmental disabilities, after a student was being harassed due to related issues. Based on my experience as a parent in this area, I don't believe that LGBTQ issues are the "only" thing being discussed.
I think there is room to support children regardless of what the issue is that increases the likelihood that they would be bullied - including whatever it was that made your own daughter a target. As I said before, I think having a diverse group of teachers with their own experience, that motivates them toward supporting those who might be singled out for bullying among our diverse student body, is a very good thing.
Posted by Douglas, a resident of the Blackhawk neighborhood, on Jan 18, 2013 at 12:15 pm
When was the last time there was a silence day for a religious group or developmentally disabled group at any of the schools? Never! You also mention several years ago in your post. That sounds like you might be talking 5-10 years ago or more? Maybe you need to visit the schools again to realize your past experience is very out of date. All my kids hear about when bullying is discussed at Diablo Vista and Monte Vista is the gay community. There are so many other issues that need attention and I think it is time to move off of the gay topic on to the issues that generally affect many more students during their childhood and teen years rather than only an extremely small fraction.
All done - moving on to the next important story...
Posted by Citizen Paine, a resident of the Danville neighborhood, on Jan 18, 2013 at 12:24 pm
Douglas seems to have decided that those who find intolerance of others to be unacceptable are, themselves, intolerant. I believe the term for that way of thinking is pretzel-logic, and it stands the world on its head. It's how some folks who claim to have strong convictions of faith can fight these strange rear-guard actions (sorry) against what seems so obviously fair-and-just to everybody else. It leads to bizarre outcomes, like book-burnings, bullying, scarlet-letters, miss-guided Propositions, and even perhaps virtual girlfriends for star college linebackers.
With all due respect, I do not believe that a Savior/Prophet whose message was love would be impressed.
Posted by Carolyn, a resident of the Danville neighborhood, on Jan 18, 2013 at 12:36 pm
@ Citizen Paine
I think Douglas has a point in that there are other topics that need to be discussed in the schools when bullying is the topic. The homosexual community has been at the forefront far too long and other topics need to be addressed. How is that being intolerant? My daughter gets bullied by the "populars" all the time and there are never any reprecussions against those girls. The "mean girl" topic is always addressed with girls with be girls, and it is disgusting!
Posted by Sharon, a resident of the Danville neighborhood, on Jan 18, 2013 at 2:06 pm
@Douglas, I think it is meaningful to provide support to children who are the victims of bullying regardless of the issue. My daughter graduated a year ago, and at that point the “day of silence” was optional. From your vehement opposition to this mode of support, I can only assume that it is now mandatory (for if it were an option, you would certainly not be opposed to allowing those who wished to show support in this way to do so). If that is the case, then that is not appropriate.
The professional work with the school that I did around religious tolerance was prior to my daughter entering high school, and was not at the school that she later attended. Many parents were opposed to educating their children about eastern religion at that time – I can’t help but see a correlation here.
If it feels to you that support for LGBTQ students is over represented and that there are specific issues left without support as a result, perhaps you can find out how the support for the LGBTQ population was increased and do the same for the area in which you have concerns. This way, you can become a part of the solution in a way that is meaningful to you and perhaps your daughter as well. It looks as though Carolyn, above, shares your viewpoint. This is how many new programs begin in the schools. I lead a support group for parents of children who were being bullied in another school district years ago and we sometimes brought in the school administration to create an open forum where the parents felt supported in viewing their concerns (this was before I was even a parent), so maybe this sort of action would help you get started.
Posted by Frances, a member of the Diablo Vista Middle School community, on Jan 18, 2013 at 4:54 pm
Wow! I just heard about this blog today and am quite surprised. Diablo Vista is a very safe campus for students. Teachers, administrators, and other staff do the best they can to keep bullying from happening. Making sure the staff is aware of the bullying and giving students tools to respond to bullying is the most important way to curtail it from happening in the future. The administration can't address the issue if they aren't informed about an issue. For the most part, it is important to remember parents, staff, and students (even the bullies as strange as that may sound) all want to be in a safe learning environment, free from bullying. With the very rare exception, we are all on the same side.
Posted by Dave, a resident of the Danville neighborhood, on Jan 22, 2013 at 12:43 pm
Douglas doesn't seem to want to be part of any solution -- as he speaks only in generalities about others who are bullied (probably because he can't think of any other identifiable group that is bullied as members of a group). He seems only interested in griping in a vague way that does nothing other than reveal his generalized anti-gay hostility. Maybe he can tell us what other group he would like to see receive assistance in discouraging bullying? He also tries to pretend that it's a zero-sum game: that any assistance one group gets means less for others. It doesn't have to work that way.