Local school district tackles bullying - Tucson News Now

Local school district tackles bullying

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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

Sunnyside school officials urge all students to report cases of bullying.

If you don't think this impacts your kids, you may be surprised; A new study shows more than half of all school age kids do not report bullying.

The district tackled the tough topic at a bullying forum Monday night.

October is anti-bullying month and Sunnyside school parents left the meeting with this pledge tonight: promising to do their part to bring an end to bullying.

"When I was in fourth or fifth grade, I used to be called a faggot, a gaylord, a queer and ugly.  All of those names led me to a breaking point where I wanted to take my own life."

"A lot of kids liked to pick on me because I was bigger than what I was today. They called me fat.  They called me chubby, you know."

"The fifth grader pushed me, called me bad words."

"At school I had no friends.  Everyone thought I was wierd and fat. People would push me and make me feel bad."

"A year later I started cutting and starving myself.  No one knew how much I wanted to leave my life."

They are chilling stories from students in our community.

Bullying is not just a scary word, but a reality. It's happening on school grounds and in the community

"I think that's wrong. No kid should have to tolerate going to school and being bullied, period," said one father whose son was bullied.

And now 24 hours a day, seven days a week, it's happening on the Internet, where a simple rumor can spread like wildfire through social media.

Sunnyside school officials are very concerned.

"We have many opportunities for cyber bullying than ever before," SUSD Superintendent Dr. Manuel Isquierdo said. "We have to deal with it and we know it."

In many cases, children are afraid to go to school and afraid to face the bullies.

School leaders say they're trying to fight bullies by spreading the word, asking students and parents to report the incidents.

"We do not want students to be afraid to come to school. They should feel safe here," SUSD Asst. Superintendent Eugenia Favela said. "Here [are] a lot of people who can help them."

It's an automatic nine-day suspension for students who are bullies in the Sunnyside Unified School District. They even have to appear for a hearing and get counseling.

Officials describe bullying as an unwanted, aggressive behavior among school age children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance.  The behavior is repeated or has the potential to be repeated, over time.

Cyberbullying is bullying that takes place using electronic technology, such as cell phones, computers, and tablets, as well as social media sites, and other websites.

To read the Sunnyside school district policy about bullying, it is in the Code of Conduct handbook.  Policy JICK is in the Appendix, and the complaint form to report bullying is in the forms section.  Their website is http://www.susd12.org/code

The Sunnyside hotline to report bullying is (520) 545-5555.  You can also call 88-CRIME.

Copyright 2013 Tucson News Now. All rights reserved.

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