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Principal: 'anti-bullying lessons must be early, often'

Original post made on Mar 22, 2013

There are no quick fixes when it comes to kids and bullying. As part of a push to train children early and often, students at Fairmeadow Elementary School this week showed off their hand-made anti-bullying posters in the school's multi-purpose room.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, March 21, 2013, 3:07 PM

Comments (13)

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Posted by Not the Same Thing
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 22, 2013 at 7:49 am

The very same program that Barron Park Elementary has; which does not work because consequences for the bullies is nothing. This program does bring awareness on students but on the students, but when the really bulling occurs, kids cannot stand up because it back fires. We need harder consequences for the bullies and mental help for both victim and aggressor, otherwise things will not change. This program has been practiced too long, and the bullying still occurs a lot, but victims and parents do not make it public because of retaliation from both the bullies and the school officials.

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Posted by Jordan Dad
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 22, 2013 at 11:23 am

Sounds like a good thing! The more awareness and training about how to handle the bullying situation, the better. This is where the focus should be. We should also get our kids self-defense training, in case things get physical.

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Posted by Hot Air
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 22, 2013 at 11:38 am

These bullying programs could be amazing and do raise awareness levels with students. But in reality they do nothing but lip service because the Principal and staff are not willing to take action when bullying occurs. Like "Not the Same Thing" says about Barron Park Elementary, I have seen kids bully and be bullied at El Carmelo Elementary School. The acting Principal does nothing.

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Posted by Mademoiselle de l'Enfer
a resident of Jordan Middle School
on Mar 22, 2013 at 2:40 pm

It seems like a good idea, but I have experienced bullying as early as preschool, so education about it needs to start that early and continue through high school. It is a bigger problem than adults realize.

Having your hair pulled, being pushed down, pulled down, deliberately hit, tripped, punched and slapped as a three-year-old is just as hard as when you are a twelve or sixteen year old. Be suspicious if your toddler no longer wants to go to preschool, cries on the way, or fakes tummy aches.

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Posted by G Orwell
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 22, 2013 at 3:39 pm

This sounds like a very good program for bullying prevention along with dedicated leadership from the principle. Several commenters raise the important question of what complementary programs need to exist for when greater action is needed.
Separately, the article indicates that the PTA is having to take on the responsibility to inventory programs at different schools. It is a sad reality that our "unified" district administration does not appear to know what are the practices at the various schools and whether the programs are using best practices with "comparable" outcomes.
Presumably, this PTA information would be supplied to the district administration and the school board. If our normal pattern is followed:
1. At best the board will try to persuade Skelly to adopt similar best practices across the district.
2.After months of late hour board discussion, the board would imply to the superintendent what they "sort of" would like to see done.
3. Skelly et al would return months later with a plan not aligned with the boards intentions.
4. Then the board (except Barb Mitchell) would gently express their disappointment and praise Skelly's apology for not having followed their guidance.
5. Repeat of steps 1-4.
Ahh...the wonders of our libertarian inspired "site autonomy" based "unified" system.

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Posted by Not the Same Thing
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 22, 2013 at 4:20 pm

G Orwell,
I love your posting. It really speaks the truth,as I was reading, I was imagining Skelly at the board. You have a vivid imagination on how to retell the events. Please do not mention the word "comparable" because Skelly will take longer to respond, since he will first need to define it, and the board members will start giving him the definition, then they will argue for the right definition, and then will come back few months after to go over the definition of comparable. This is our board and superintendent, talk, talk, talk, and what they say has no meaning. I thought that with the OCR investigation, they will come up with a better anti-bullying program, too bad, they are not changing it. So we are stuck with the same old, same old ineffective program. Maybe it will take more than one OCR investigation to really make changes to protect all kids from bullying.
Yes, I agree with you. Ahh...the wonders of our libertarian inspired "site autonomy" based "unified" system. Why don't we change the name of our district to "unified" that is exactly how we work because we lack of leadership at the District level and at the site level too.

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Posted by No more at ard grads
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 22, 2013 at 8:33 pm

Post removed due to same poster using multiple names]

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Posted by No more Harvard Grads
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 22, 2013 at 8:39 pm

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names]

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Posted by Shadow board
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Mar 22, 2013 at 8:48 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

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Posted by Gunn parent
a resident of Gunn High School
on Mar 23, 2013 at 3:53 pm

@ weekly reader
I think the topic of small English classes came up because as Paly used increased funding for TA's Gunn used it for smaller English classes. The board has made it clear that they will increase funding to improve guidance. With the focus goal on improving A-G success rates I think the board will want the small English classes to continue to support the ESL students. In the big picture adding additional Titan coaches is not a big funding number.

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Posted by Gunn parent
a resident of Gunn High School
on Mar 23, 2013 at 6:39 pm

Oops, my above post was meant for the thread about counseling. Interesting parallels to that thread posted here.

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Posted by Shadow board
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Mar 24, 2013 at 10:30 am

Today's mercury news insider column noted the same ick factor between Skelly and the board that I posted earlier that was deleted. The merc column called for the board to dismiss Skelly due to the fact that he concealed 2 different civil rights issues and then had "memory problems" they also noted the embarrassing fact that the board praised him for apologizing. This is hurting PAUSD. We're becoming a punch line and its hurting our excellent schools. If the board cared about our school districts reputation they would find new more trustworthy leadership.
Web Link

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Posted by Bully Bully Bully
a resident of Jordan Middle School
on Mar 24, 2013 at 9:54 pm

Before the district starts unifying on any program, they should measure the effectiveness on self-reported victimization. Most research on whole-school bullying programs shows little benefit (they also show little harm):

Web Link

A simple Google search confirms a few studies which show inconclusive results, even from formalize programs which measure outcomes (which I doubt our programs are that well run).

If we have 12 different programs, it would be useful to identify rates of victimization to see if any really work. I doubt they work much at all, other than give the sites a warm feeling that they are "doing something".

The reasons for failure are interesting - essentially bullies are individuals, not a school-wide phenomenon. So the programs can be ignored by bullies, while the victims try to use the school program tools to get help. Unless intervention is swift, and well targeted by authorities to act against the bullies social aggression, the victimization still occurs. Essentially the programs don't help the victims, and the bullies can ignore the programs.

These situations still result in individual conflicts between bullies and victims. The standard approach of asking the children to "work it out" will utterly fail, as the victim will follow the rules, and the bully will punch him in the nose.

The best advice one can give their own kid is this: don't be a victim. Stand up to the bully.

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