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Another View: Roseville high schools say ‘No’ to bullying

By: Steve Williams, RJUHSD
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Protecting the safety of students has long been the hallmark of the Roseville Joint Union High School District. Over the years, safety concerns have led to the adoption of dress codes, behavior codes, police officers on campus, video cameras on buses and a host of other actions, all designed to ensure that students are safe at school. The Board of Trustees of the Roseville Joint Union High School District recently approved a new board policy geared toward further improving the safety of students and staff. New Board Policy 5131.1, “Prevention of Bullying,” was unanimously approved to heighten awareness of bullying and/or cyber bullying incidents and to serve notice that when these types of incidents occur, serious consequences will follow. The district’s mission of increased achievement for every student requires a safe place for students to go to school. Simply put, the board’s action sends the message that bullying and/or cyber bullying cannot and will not be tolerated on any of the RJUHSD campuses. Every student has a right to a safe and healthy school environment, and behavior that infringes on the safety of any student will be investigated promptly and resolved by applying school administrative procedures, California Education Code, and California Penal Code. This new policy allows for students to be disciplined for bullying and/or cyber bullying conduct that is related to school activity, no matter when it occurs. The Josephson Institute of Ethics Survey conducted in 2010 reported that 47 percent of the 43,000 high school students surveyed reported having been the victim of bullying in the past year. You might ask, “But what about here in quiet, suburban Roseville?” Recently, the Woodcreek High School newspaper (the “Wolf Pack Press”) surveyed nearly 500 students and reported 30 percent of those who responded have been involved in bullying either as a victim or as the bully. A Granite Bay High School school-wide survey conducted on April 9, 2009 revealed that 32 percent of those who responded reported being bullied and/or cyber bullied in the form of name calling, telling lies, hitting, purposely damaging another’s reputation, or writing hurtful messages through the internet. There are now scores of research studies that indicate bullying can be found on any high school campus across the country. This is not a new phenomenon. What is different now is the internet. Social network sites are used by students to make dates, keep track of friends and to share their latest gossip or adventure. They are also being used more frequently by teenagers, to threaten others or to spread malicious lies. The Roseville Joint Union High School Board of Trustees and staff all agree that all of us share a human responsibility to look out for each other. We all share a responsibility to speak up against bullying and/or cyber bullying and when it occurs to deal with it immediately. We are all required to lead the change, to be the change! The Roseville High School District is committed to helping students, staff, and parents become aware of the extent of the nationwide bullying and/or cyber bullying problem. Granite Bay and Oakmont high schools have had assemblies and other activities designed to build a culture that prohibits bullying. Other schools have similar activities on the drawing board. The Roseville district will continue to identify and implement necessary interventions to eliminate this destructive behavior. We will work together at every school to create a climate where bullying and/or cyber bullying are not tolerated and ultimately no longer exist. The Roseville Joint Union High School District accepts this challenge and pledges to promote mutual respect, understanding, and acceptance. We will not stop and we will not be deterred until every student feels welcome, respected, and supported in this outstanding district. Steve Williams is the director of Pupil Personnel for the Roseville Joint Union High School District.