This summer, Mount Diablo Unified School District's governing board will make sure district policies on bullying comply with state legislation known as Seth's Law, which went into effect on July 1. Named for Seth Walsh, a 13-year-old in Tehachapi, Calif. who hanged himself in 2010 after being bullied for being gay,AB 9 requires public schools to have clear rules about preventing and punishing bullying.
Here's the definition of bullying Mt. Diablo Unified staff shared with the school board in June:
No student or group of students shall through physical, written, verbal, or other means harass, sexually harass, threaten, intimidate, cyberbully, cause bodily injury to, or commit hate violence against any other student or school personnel.
Unwilling to force new costs on cash-strapped school districts, state lawmakers nixed language in the original bill that would have required staff to attend trainings on bullying.
It falls on the California Department of Education to make sure school district's are following the new law, but with resources scarce, it will likely be difficult for the CDE to do much in the way of enforcement. That means administrators, teachers, parents and students will ultimately be responsible for addressing the problem of bullying in individual schools.
What do you think about the culture in Concord's high schools? Does school staff take bullying seriously? Do gay and lesbian students feel respected and safe? Tell us in the comments below.Suspensions for bullying, violence, intimidation or sexual harassment in 2010-2011 Total suspensions in 2010-2011
113 368 60 245 Source: California Department of Education
During the 2010-2011 school year, researchers for the California Healthy Kids Survey asked around 5,600 secondary students in Mount Diablo Unified how they feel about their schools. The findings below are from the questions related to bullying.Mean rumors spread about you 2 or more times Sexual comments or jokes directed at you 2 or more times Been made fun of for the way you look or talk 2 or more times 7th Graders 23 percent 28 percent 27 percent 9th Graders 33 percent 34 percent 25 percent 11th Graders 20 percent 36 percent 24 percent Been pushed shoved or hit 2 or more times Been afraid of being beaten up 2 or more times Been in a physical fight 2 or more times 7th Graders 24 percent 12 percent 12 percent 9th Graders 15 percent 9 percent 9 percent 11th Graders 9 percent 7 percent 8 percent Source: California Healthy Kids Survey, 2010-2011
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