Mar252011

Students Call on Lawmakers to Help Prevent Bullying and Save Lives

Posted by Kassy Perry

Assembly Resolution declares school bullying a significant statewide problem

Sacramento, Calif. (March 25, 2011) – Elementary school students, their parents, a counselor and principal traveled from San Diego to the State Capitol today hoping to save lives by supporting legislative bullying prevention efforts. The delegation was at the Capitol to challenge the legislature to implement character education programs in schools statewide to put a permanent stop to bullying.  In recognition of the alarming number of bullying incidents and suicides reported recently, Assembly Member Ben Hueso (D-79) presented ACR 22, a resolution that in partnership with AB 630 will establish programs that educate and train school teachers and administrators to identify and deal with bullying.

El Toyon Elementary School implemented PeaceBuilders into the curriculum for students, teachers and parents. PeaceBuilders is an inclusive bullying prevention program that creates peaceful learning environments to proactively eliminate bullying by using a research-validated character education program with specific actions and activities that make bullying very difficult.

“Every child deserves the right to thrive in a school setting without the threat of bullying,” said Michelle Molina, President of PeaceBuilders. “We know that the children in schools who utilize our program feel safer and report fewer incidents of bullying allowing them to focus on learning.  We are proud of El Toyon Elementary School and the steps they have taken to promote a culture of peace and respect in both the school and community, and we applaud Assembly Member Hueso for increasing awareness of the dangers of bullying with his resolution and legislation.“

Recent cases of bullying and a rash of suicides nationwide have sounded alarms and highlighted bullying as an issue that needs to be addressed immediately.

“We are so very honored to be recognized for our efforts at bullying prevention. Despite increased media coverage of bullying in classrooms and the devastation it has caused, the cases of bullying continue to grow and point to the need to implement wonderful and effective school-based programs like PeaceBuilders,” said  Manuel Abel Machado.  “At El Toyon we are utilizing the PeaceBuilders program to create a school community where every child feels safe and respected. “

In 2001 the State Department of Education adopted a policy on bullying prevention to encourage positive behaviors and eliminate bullying behaviors in California schools. Yet, one decade later, a child is still bullied on a schoolyard every seven minutes and 77 percent of all students are bullied mentally, verbally or physically at some point. Sadly, adult intervention occurs only four percent of the time and peers intervene only 11 percent of the time. PeaceBuilders is designed to dramatically increase the frequency of adult and peer interventions to pull bullying out from the shadows where it can thrive.

Assembly Member Hueso is trying to change this statistic.  “The PeaceBuilders program has taken proactive steps to stop bullying and to create a positive learning environment for students, teachers and parents,” said Assembly Member Hueso. “This resolution is an important step to ensure that this issue stays at the forefront of discussions in schools, local communities and at the Capitol.”

The El Toyon delegation also met with representatives from State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson’s Office to call upon him to support a requirement that all schools incorporate bullying prevention programs like PeaceBuilders in their curriculum.

PeaceBuilders thanked Southwest Airlines for donating the plane tickets to fly the students, their parents, the school’s principal and counselor to Sacramento.

PeaceBuilders is an inclusive school-climate program creating peaceful learning environments. Founded in 1992 the program has been implemented in thousands of schools nationwide. The PeaceBuilders goal is simple, yet momentous – to ensure all schools will become peaceful learning environments where everyone learns, acquires and practices the skills to ensure positive and respectful behaviors in order for all students to achieve academic, as well as, personal and interpersonal success. For more information on PeaceBuilders and PeacePartners, please visit www.peacebuilders.com

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