By Edwin Folven, 10/03/2013
School house takes preemptive approach to anti-bullying
Untold numbers of students are bullied every day in schools across the country, which prompted law enforcement authorities, government leaders and education officials to come together Tuesday at the Hollywood School House to call for more awareness about the problem.
Following a press conference that coincided with October being National Bullying Prevention Month, 4th graders at the school were given a lesson on what to do if they are bullied. Monica Harmon, founder of Speak Out Against Bullying, led the presentation.
“We are here to say you are not alone,” Harmon told the students. “Bullying doesn’t discriminate. We need to motivate people to start doing something about it.”
One in three students report that they have been bullied at school, according to statistics from National Center for Education. Authorities also stated that cyber-bullying is increasing, with thousands of students being victimized by classmates and peers in the United States.
Sgt. Darrell Davis, with the Los Angeles Police Department’s Hollywood Division, said it is important that students are taught about the negative effects of bullying at a young age because school bullies often grow up to be bullies as adults. He added that attacks on people because of their gender or ethnicity that occur in public can be similar to bullying that occurs on a smaller scale in schools.
“This is an opportunity to get that message out there when they are at a young age, when a lot of the kids don’t know any better,” Davis said. “This kind of thing does translate into negative behavior as an adult.”
Harmon said the most important thing for students to do if they are bullied is to tell an adult, whether it is a parent, teacher, school administrator or family friend. She said students who witness bullying should also report it, as many times the victims remain silent.
Sen. Ted Lieu (D-Torrance) attended the press conference and said bullying is one of the toughest issues students face in school, and can be an impediment to learning.
“This is a critical issue,” Lieu said. “If you are a child and you are being bullied, tell an adult. If you are a parent and your child is being bullied, you must tell a teacher.”
Stephen Bloodworth, head of school for the Hollywood School House, said administrators try to monitor school activities very closely so students aren’t bullied. He said it is easier in a private school such as his with 219 students than a public school with thousands of students.
“Our school is like a family, where we have close-knit relationships, and that is something difficult for large schools to create,” Bloodworth said. “People need to look out for one another.”
Arquimides Pacheco, education manager for the Trevor Project, a program supporting LGBT youth, said bullying is particularly harmful to young people who are gay. They tend to suppress the negative feelings and carry them into adulthood, he said. Bullying also sometimes leads to suicide.
“I think the problem is greater than what people expect it to be,” Pacheco said. “LGBT students experience bullying on a regular basis. The only solution with bullying is for them to seek help.”
Pacheco said the Trevor Project provides numerous services for LGBT youth, and encouraged people to visit thetrevorproject.com. Harmon said people can also visit www.speakoutagainstbullying.org for information on resources.