By McKenna MIDDLETON, intern
Last Thursday evening, an important issue was discussed and explored in the Crescenta Valley High School library. Bullying prevention efforts in the Glendale Unified School District were shared with parents, students, educators and active community members as the second of four talks sponsored by CV Alliance.
Scott Anderle, assistant director of Student Support Services, spoke on behalf of the GUSD to educate the public on the district’s policies regarding bullying. Anderle focused his seminar on the roles that students, schools, and parents play in the area of bullying. His answer for the issue of bullying was to send a message of tolerance and empathy towards others throughout the community.
Anderle discussed realistic and applicable ways to cut down on bullying in the district, in the home and in the classroom. He stressed the importance of parents having conversations with their children without judging. He explained how critical it is when having a conversation about bullying to ask questions rather than jump to give answers. Anderle demonstrated a “bystander conversation” for parents to have with their children about taking a stand against bullying.
Currently, GUSD has been implementing the Olweus project to combat bullying in four schools. Five other schools in the district are beginning to develop the program as well, including CVHS. Olweus is a research based program that centers on creating a positive school environment. The schools administering Olweus have educated all their stakeholders, from teachers to students, on bullying policy.
“We are working to create a safe and affirming school climate with consistent behavioral expectations and consequences,” Anderle said.
Each GUSD school has developed its own “bullying rubric” that lays out the behavioral expectations and consequences which teachers are instructed to follow. Besides just punishing students for negative behavior, teachers are encouraged to converse with the student in an effort to prevent further misbehavior. Various school-wide assemblies and videos also work to educate students on the dangers of bullying.
Rosemont Middle School principal Dr. Cynthia Livingston discussed the effects of these bullying prevention efforts at her campus. Besides the Olweus program, Rosemont has created a “Random Acts of Kindness” club that works to encourage tolerance and empathy among the student body. Posters with positive words create an aura of kindness and positivity throughout the school. A kindness quote is also presented each morning in the daily bulletin as well. For Valentine’s Day, the club put a valentine in each student’s locker. The impact of Olweus at Rosemont and other schools resulted in a drop in bullying rates.
“We’ve trained the staff and encouraged the students and we have really embraced the positive school environment,” Livingston said.
Motivational speaker David Taylor shared his personal experiences as well as the advice he gives students to prevent bullying.
“It’s important to show power in the midst of a bully. Even if you’re afraid, you have to let the bully know you aren’t going to stand for it any longer,” Taylor said.
It is clear that bullying is a complicated issue with no black and white answer; however, the efforts of GUSD in local schools as well as parents at home might offer some hope.
CV Alliance will host its next lecture on March 27 regarding suicide prevention in GUSD.