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Bullying: a battle to win from childhood with education

"Ignorance is the mother of evil and all vices" 
? Galileo Galilei

Students from Casa Círculo Cultural reflect on diversity and equality among people.

Bullying has become a real problem for thousands of children and young people and their parents in the country, San Mateo County is no exception, because despite the fact that there are ways to report anonymously, for more workshops and talks, the dangerous phenomenon persists and has become a battle to be won since childhood, one that can only be won through education, respect, tolerance and love. 

As recently as June 2022, Lorena Segovia, a Redwood City resident and member of the Peninsula 360 Press Community Journalism Workshop, denounced through this medium that her daughter had been assaulted and a victim of bullying since kindergarten.

He stressed that, in January of last year, his daughter was once again a victim of bullying at the McKinley Institute of Technology, belonging to the Redwood City School District.

"I thought that, by obligation, all schools in the district should have security cameras and closed-circuit TV to identify any bullying problem, a phenomenon that is more frequent in recent generations," he said.

"Your daughter was inappropriately touched," the doctor who treated her girl after the incident told her. Lorena didn't find out until then, she knew that a student had struggled and pushed her daughter, but not where he had touched her. "My daughter points to the part of the chest, so the doctor concludes that it was an attack of a sexual nature."

Lorena said she immediately contacted authorities at the McKinley Institute of Technology, but they refused to provide the security camera footage found at the school; the staff attributes the refusal to the lack of maintenance of the closed circuit; however, additionally, there are not enough security personnel inside the schools. 

“Nothing is done to try to solve it? It is worrisome, the cameras are for decoration, and I suspect that the security cameras were in operation when my daughter was the victim of bullying. How can a mother or father of a family verify its operation if no response is obtained from the responsible authorities?

"My daughter felt abandoned. And it is that, in addition, the school is unable to identify the emotional problems of the students, which creates an environment of instability during learning, “he added.

The San Mateo County Board of Education believes that all students have the right to a safe, orderly, caring, and equitable learning environment that promotes academic achievement, school connection, and meaningful engagement for all students. 

While the San Mateo County Office of Education Policy document affirms the right of all students, staff, and parents/guardians to be free from harassment or any activity that degrades the unique qualities of an individual or association with a person or group with one or more actual or perceived protected characteristics, to include student parental, familial, or marital status, ancestry, color, race, gender, gender identity, gender expression, ethnicity, age, culture, heredity, sexuality, physical/mental/intellectual attributes, or religious beliefs and practices. 

This right, the Board noted, applies to all acts related to school activity or school attendance within a school under the jurisdiction of the Superintendent, while school personnel will take immediate steps to intervene when it is safe to do so and when witness an act of discrimination, harassment, intimidation or bullying. However, that does not seem to be so true in all cases.

Notably "The San Mateo County Board of Education expressly prohibits discrimination, intimidation, harassment, cyberbullying, or bullying of any student or employee by any employee, student, or other person on any school campus or at any school activity whether on or off school grounds. campus". 

However, the Board recognized that bullying and harassment is inflammatory to those who are the victims of such acts and endangers the safety and well-being of students and staff, and therefore authorizes staff to discipline the students involved. in such acts, including counseling, suspensions, and recommendation for expulsion as permitted by the California Education Code.

"The San Mateo County Board of Education expects students and employees to conduct themselves in accordance with their levels of development, maturity, and demonstrated abilities with appropriate consideration for the rights and welfare of other students and school personnel," the statement said. document that although it is correct, is not known and is not developed as it is.

In December 2019, a parent of a Roosevelt School student sued the Redwood City School District, alleging that administrators were aware of an ongoing bullying problem that culminated in her daughter being attacked at lunch.

According to the lawsuit, filed Dec. 20 in San Mateo County Superior Court, the feud between the minor and her alleged harasser had raged since the sixth grade, leading principal Tina Mercer to be contacted repeatedly. to solve the problem.

However, Mercer allegedly did nothing regarding the parents' complaints, and the alleged harasser told her in January that he was mad at the girl and was going to "smack her in the butt," the lawsuit says.

In that regard, Mercer did not tell the alleged victim's parents or warn teachers of the upcoming attack, the lawsuit claims. The director also failed to investigate the problem or punish the alleged harasser, the lawsuit further maintains.

Various comments by parents on social networks warn of the bullying their children have suffered, however, they point out that directors and staff only seek confrontation with the students and do not provide solutions to the problems, so the only way out they see is changing them to school.

The Redwood City School District states on its website that complaints alleging discrimination, harassment, intimidation, or bullying must be filed within six months from the date the incident occurred, or the date the complainant first had knowledge of the facts unless the filing time is extended by the superintendent or designee.

He said that the complaints will be investigated and a written decision or report will be sent to the complainant within sixty days from the receipt of the complaint and that the period may be extended by written agreement of the complainant, and the complainant has the right to appeal. the decision in writing within the first 15 days of the result, which must be accompanied by a copy of the originally filed complaint and a copy of the decision.

Undoubtedly, the phenomenon is advancing and one way to put a stop to the situation is education, one that starts from childhood and the first school years, where children can identify and curb negative attitudes among the school community, for this , the county released "Respect! 24/7”.

I respect! 24/7 is an anti-bullying initiative that provides professional development and resources for teachers and administrators to create safe, caring, and equitable learning environments. The initiative addresses issues such as cyberbullying, youth voice, digital citizenship, disproportionate suspension and expulsion rates, LGBTQ and gender identity, suicide prevention, and youth mental health.

The action came after a San Mateo County Grand Jury report called on school districts to update their anti-bullying policies to be more comprehensive and consistent. 

We must remember that students who are subjected to bullying, teasing, and other threats are at risk of long-term damage to their mental health, self-esteem, and academic success. By fostering a positive school climate, a sense of belonging, and social-emotional learning, schools can decrease student absenteeism, suspensions, substance abuse, and bullying while increasing academic achievement, motivation to learn and the psychological well-being of students.

With information from Daily Post.

Bullying: a battle to win from childhood with education

This publication was supported in whole or in part by funding provided by the State of California, administered by the California State Library.

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Pamela Cruz
Pamela Cruz
Editor-in-Chief of Peninsula 360 Press. A communicologist by profession, but a journalist and writer by conviction, with more than 10 years of media experience. Specialized in medical and scientific journalism at Harvard and winner of the International Visitors Leadership Program scholarship from the U.S. government.

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