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Logo from Bully movie

A Community Comes Together to Stop Bullying

09/13/12

As part of the Stop Bullying Summit, over three thousand SFUSD middle- and high- school students from across the City watched the documentary Bully, and civic leaders convened to share strategies to eliminate bullying.

Bully shows the pained lives of young victims that go beyond geographic, racial, ethnic, and economic borders. Adults in the movie frequently respond to bullying by saying “kids will be kids” or reaching for quick fixes, but both solutions are ineffective. Bully captures a growing movement among parents and youths to change how an entire community responds to bullying.

Before the school year began, all SFUSD school principals and administrators watched the movie together as a reminder that all adults in our community are responsible for stopping bullying. By the end of this year, all of our middle and high school students will have the chance to see it too.

In San Francisco our teachers devote time to teach healthy conflict resolution and promote acceptance. As a district, we are emphasizing restorative practices, an approach to discipline that aims to do more than just punish bullies. We aim to change the behaviors of those who bully and offer opportunities for those who are bullied to express how they’ve been harmed. Even with all this work, last year 34 percent of San Francisco middle-school students surveyed said they had been bullied at school.

Educators have a grave responsibility to prevent bullying and so do parents and community members. The Stop Bullying Summit marks the beginning of new efforts, supported by the US Attorney and the Bully Project nationally and SFUSD and Mayor Ed Lee locally, to address this issue.

What is bullying?

Bullying can include repeated physical abuse like slapping, choking, kicking or punching, but equally harmful is bullying in the form of gossip, name-calling, mocking, or even giving the silent treatment. Bullying via the internet, such as on Facebook, can cause just as much damage as bullying in person.

SFUSD investigates every bullying complaint.

What you can do if you think your child is being bullied?

  • Call or email your child’s teacher, counselor or principal to describe what is happening and ask for help.
  • Remind your child that he or she can walk away from the situation and seek help from adults at school.
  • If you feel the situation is not being resolved with the school’s staff, contact the Office of Family Voice at (415) 241-6150 or familyvoice@sfusd.edu, or leave a message at SFUSD’s Safe School Line at (415) 241-2141.

Further Resources