Burbank Unified survey results show bullying, harassment is still an issue in schools

Bullying and harassment among students continues to be an issue in the Burbank Unified School District, according to results from a School Climate survey, with more than 60% of students and teachers stating that students have experienced bullying during the current academic year.

Tom Kissinger, assistant superintendent of instructional services, gave an overview of the results of the survey, which covered more than bullying, Thursday night during a school board meeting.

The survey — which was available online and on paper in various languages from May 8 to June 10 to students in eighth through 12th grades as well as teachers, parents and community members — asked them to weigh in on topics such as academics, technology resources and mental health services.

For the most part, results were positive or remained steady when compared to last year’s results. However, bullying is still an increasing concern.

Bullying was defined using the district’s policy, which states it is a form of violence that involves subjecting a person to abusive actions and may include gestures, written, verbal or physical acts motivated by race, religion or gender. Also, it places a person in reasonable fear for their well-being.

Results showed 64% of students and 61% of staff reported that students had been bullied during the academic year. That’s a 3% increase compared to last year’s survey; however, the survey did not provide a definition at that time.

Meanwhile, 52% of the responding parents noted there had been bullying among students, a 4% decrease from last year.

“That is not an acceptable number in either of those three categories,” Kissinger said. “This is a district focus this year, and we’re going to do our best to take on this issue for our schools.”

When asked if they think the rules against bullying and verbal abuse at their child’s school were effective, 59% of parents said yes compared to 36% of students.

Kissinger said faculty are entering their second year of social and emotional curriculum through L.A. County’s Positive Behavior Intervention Support training.

“We’re going another step further this year. We’re starting an anti-bullying task force in [November] and putting a tremendous amount of effort into this,” he said.

Roberta Reynolds, board vice president, commended district staff for utilizing the data gathered as a tool to find areas needed for improvement.

priscella.vega@latimes.com

Twitter: @vegapriscella

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