Heartfelt Pleas To Do More
On Tuesday, February 5th, EGUSD had a board meeting in which they listened to concerned parents, teachers, and others regarding bullying. These attendees and residents requested the board do more to address this very serious and important issue. Bullying has become a growing problem in Elk Grove schools and has been on the rise nationwide in the last few years.
One concerned parent said that her 9-year-old daughter has been bullied since the 2nd grade. Despite her efforts to draw attention to her daughter’s bullying, not much has been done about it. This year, a bully slapped her daughter in the lunchline. However, the office and vice principal claimed they knew nothing about it. Later in the year, the bully attacked two other students before he was finally suspended.
The parent added that the “Stop, Walk, and Talk” policy puts too much responsibility on the students and not enough on the school personnel.
Collectively, the board has made some progress including “zero tolerance” and “Stop, Walk, and Talk” anti-bullying policies and assemblies. Bobbie Singh-Allen, a board member, dedicates much of her time to improving the lives of students and families by leading anti-bullying initiatives as well as other initiatives regarding multicultural awareness and diversity.
Signs a Child Is Being Bullied
Look for changes in the child. However, be aware that not all bullied children exhibit warning signs.
Some signs that may point to a bullying problem are:
- Unexplainable injuries
- Lost or destroyed clothing, books, electronics, or jewelry
- Frequent headaches or stomach aches, feeling sick or faking illness
- Changes in eating habits, like suddenly skipping meals or binge eating. Kids may come home from school hungry because they did not eat lunch.
- Difficulty sleeping or frequent nightmares
- Declining grades, loss of interest in schoolwork, or not wanting to go to school
- Sudden loss of friends or avoidance of social situations
- Feelings of helplessness or decreased self-esteem
- Self-destructive behaviors such as running away from home, harming themselves, or talking about suicide
If you know someone in serious distress or danger, don’t ignore the problem. Get help right away.
(Excerpted from www.bullying.gov)
Signs a Child is Bullying Others
Kids may be bullying others if they:
- Get into physical or verbal fights
- Have friends who bully others
- Are increasingly aggressive
- Are sent to the principal’s office or to detention frequently
- Have unexplained extra money or new belongings
- Blame others for their problems
- Don’t accept responsibility for their actions
- Are competitive and worry about their reputation or popularity
(Excerpted from www.bullying.gov)
The Impact of Bullying
Bullying is morally wrong. Kids who are bullied can experience negative issues, mentally, physically, and in school work. Bullied children are more likely to experience:
- Depression and anxiety, increased feelings of sadness and loneliness, changes in sleep and eating patterns, and loss of interest in activities they used to enjoy. These issues may persist into adulthood.
- Health complaints
- Decreased academic achievement—GPA and standardized test scores—and school participation. They are more likely to miss, skip, or drop out of school.
A very small number of bullied children may retaliate through violence. In 12 of 15 school shooting cases in the 1990s, the shooters had a history of being bullied.
Bullying hurts and destroys the lives of many right here in Elk Grove. Perhaps there should be greater consequences for this bad behavior, such as immediate suspension and mandatory counseling. Perhaps we need to place less of an effort on the “Stop, Walk, and Talk” policy and focus on how to identify kids who are being bullied and the bullies themselves while working to protect victims before any other steps are taken. We must all work together to find an effective solution. It will be interesting to see what changes the board will make or consider. For more information on Elk Grove Unified School District’s anti-bullying policies, visit www.egusd.net.
Statement of Xanthi Pinkerton
Director of Communications/Public Information Officer of EGUSD
“Student safety is our top priority and the district does not condone any behaviors that infringe on the safety or emotional or physical well-being of any student. With regard to the parent that spoke, I do know her case is being investigated. If there are other resources that are needed, she is welcome to reach out to our Student Support and Health Services team: http://www.egusd.net/about/divisions-departments/educational-services/student-support-and-health-services/”