This week’s question: How big of a problem is bullying in our community? What suggestions do parents in Milpitas have to address it with children?
Ask anyone if they were bullied (or if they ever bullied other kids) while in school, and you are sure to get a story or two that includes name calling or stolen lunch money.
Bullying has been around for generations and a part of growing up for some, but parents may find themselves in these situations for the first time when it involves their own child.
San Jose resident Nelli Gage did when her grandson revealed to her that several of his third-grade classmates would tease and hit him at recess. Even though he was bigger than his tormentors, he didn’t want to fight back, and things got worse, she said.
“School should be a place where a child feels safe," she said. "It was getting so bad. It was a lot of name calling, shoving, and trying to make him cry." Gage finally scheduled a meeting with her grandson’s principal.
The principal promised to do several things, including increasing recess supervision, but didn’t follow though with any of the changes, said Gage. “Luckily, [my grandson] was able to stop the bullying on his own. He just got tired one day and turned around and hit the other child, and that [finally] stopped it.”
In addition to your ideas on how parents can address bullying with their children, we found what educators are doing to increase awareness of the issues.
Here's what a local school and the county Board of Education are doing to address bullying:
- This week, in Milpitas will host Oskar and the Big Bully Battle (see video above), a touring assembly co-developed by TheatreWorks and the arts educators. Using lots of audience participation, songs and comedy, the play looks at bullying and things kids can do to deal with the issue.
- A new with a lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender focus has been established by the Santa Clara County Board of Education to come up with "outside the box" recommendations. The committee will provide recommendations to the board on April 20.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 15-25 percent of American students are bullied with some frequency. In California, there are several laws that deal with various types of bullying.