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October is National Anti-Bullying Month

Pacifica schools are encouraged to participate in the San Mateo County anti-bullying initiative called RESPECT! 24/7 in honor of National Anti-Bullying Month.

In recognition of October as National Anti-Bullying Month, the San Mateo County Board of Education and the San Mateo County Superintendent of Schools launched a countywide anti-bullying and civility initiative called RESPECT! 24/7 that aims to end bullying, prioritize respect and civility, and strengthen a thriving and diverse San Mateo County.

The San Mateo County Office of Education and its RESPECT! 24/7 partners urge communities across San Mateo County to create, sponsor, and participate in their own local RESPECT! 24/7 activities.

“Together, let us promote safe, positive, and respectful schools and communities, free of meanness, bullying, harassment, discrimination, and violence,” writes San Mato County superintendent Anne Campbell in a letter to all the county's principals.

To participate, on Monday this week Cabrillo School students wore blue World Day of Bullying Prevention t-shirts to show their solidarity with stomping out bullying. The administration took a school-wide photo with the children in their blue shirts on the schoolyard. The Cabrillo leadership class organized the day and activities to go with it.

Teachers at Pacifica schools can also have their students attend a free screening in a local theater of the 98-minute documentary "Bully" by director Lee Hirsh Oct. 16-25.

The Bully Project and the 1 Million Kids Initiative is brings the film "Bully" to young people and their educators in San Mateo County in order to improve school climate and promote caring, inclusive school communities that emphasize respect for all.

Interested teachers need to fill out a form and send to Karen Williams of the San Mateo County Office of Education at kwilliams@smcoe.k12.ca.us. The San Mateo County Office of Education will work with each school’s contact person to coordinate transportation, permission slips, seat reservations, parent communication, and teacher training.

Also on Oct. 26, schools can meet up with "Bully" director Lee Hirsch and featured student, Alex Libby. A panel discussion with San Mateo County students, teachers, and community leaders will also be part of the agenda. The location is yet to be determined but select tickets are available in school districts and San Mateo County Public Libraries.

There’s also a screening of "Bullying: Culture of Silence," a documentary by Sunnie McFadden-Curtis, Oct. 20 at Sharp Park Public Library at 104 Hilton Way in Pacifica at 7 p.m.

In addition, the countywide initiative is holding a RESPECT! 24/7-logo contest, which will be used as the primary identity mark for Respect! 24/7. The   winning logo will be used on all Respect!  24/7 promotional materials, and the winner will be invited to attend special Respect! 24/7 events.

The logo contest is open to 6th-12th grade students attending a public or private school in San Mateo County. Artwork must convey the message of  “respect for all, all the time.” Logos can be created digitally or by hand. Students may submit a logo individually and/or as part of collaboration with other students. A judging panel of community leaders will select finalists.

What is your school doing to participate in the anti-bullying campaign, RESPECT! 24/7? Tell us in the comments and upload your photos.

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Devin C. Hughes October 03, 2012 at 09:30 PM
For me, like many bullies, putting someone down was my way of making myself feel better. Growing up in the poor side of Washington, D.C., I struggled to fit in. My mother was white and my father was black, and I tried all through my young life to figure out which race that made me. It didn’t help that my mother was a drug addict and my father was an alcoholic, which left our home void of structure, supervision and consistency. It also didn’t help that I struggled in school because I had dyslexia. Plenty of people probably have challenging family issues and learning disabilities but don’t become bullies. But for me, the confusion, pain and lack of self-confidence I felt was only soothed when I made someone else feel just like me.
Christa Bigue (Editor) October 04, 2012 at 03:21 AM
Thank you Devin for sharing your very compelling story. I think you bring up an interesting question: are most of the children who are considered bullies in pain, have troubles at home, struggle in school, and lack self confidence? There seems to be more bullying issues at schools than ever before so if this is true — that most of the children who are considered bullies are in emotional pain and lack self confidence — we have a lot of wounded little souls on our hands and that's a sad state for our youth to be in. Any other thoughts on this?
Dee October 04, 2012 at 03:39 AM
It's true though that there are plenty of kids who are popular, do well in school, athletic, have "normal" parents that are also big-time bullies. But they too may have issues with self esteem or lack of confidence that makes them be bullies. To me the root of all bullying stems from being unhappy about something in your life and wanting to exert control over others to make yourself feel better. If we have an epidemic of bullying at our schools than we must have a lot of unhappy children in the world. This is not good for humanity, our future.
Christa Bigue (Editor) October 04, 2012 at 04:15 PM
The news anchor criticized for being overweight by a viewer makes some very interesting points about bullying and children in this video: http://patch.com/A-ytWZ What do you think?

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