An antibullying program that’s being introduced in Glendale Unified schools was in the spotlight Thursday during a discussion on the topic at Crescenta Valley High School.
The event, hosted by the CV Alliance, featured Scott Anderle, Glendale Unified’s director of student support services, who said teachers regularly issue warnings and call home to parents when students kick, punch, shove or harass others.
He also said that a handful of schools have recently started to implement a program in which educators reinforce students’ positive behavior and create personalized intervention plans to change the behavior of those who bully.
Those schools include Valley View, Mountain Avenue, Monte Vista elementary schools, Toll Middle School and Crescenta Valley High School.
The program has already been in place at Rosemont Middle School and Lincoln, Fremont and R.D. White elementary schools the past two to three years.
As part of the program, students pledge not to use their hands or words to hurt other people, Anderle said.
The bullying prevention program is based on work by Dan Olweus, a researcher from Norway who has studied bullying since the 1970s and has developed ways to best recognize bullying behavior and understand its impact on students in school settings.
At Rosemont Middle School, Principal Cynthia Livingston said the school initiated a “Random Acts of Kindness” club with the motto, “Kindness is the new cool.”
On the eve of Valentine’s Day, students in the club dropped a valentine into each student’s locker, she said. They are also encouraged to offer more smiles and open doors for fellow students on campus.
Focusing on kindness and positivity, “helps shift kids beyond ‘don’t bully,’” she said.
“Sometimes kids just aren’t nice. We’re trying to help them finally break that pattern,” she added.
La Crescenta mother Marti Marshall attended the discussion, and said that her teen son, who attends Crescenta Valley High, has not been bullied. However, she believes it’s important to be in on the conversation surrounding it.
She voiced her disdain for Glendale Unified hiring Geo Listening to monitor students’ public social-media posts, in part to intervene when students bully others. Her primary concern is that parents were not aware the district had hired the company.
On Thursday, she said she was also unaware of the antibullying program the district has put in place.
“I want them to come to us before they implement [these programs],” she said.
The CV Alliance will continue its series of “Teen Trials & Tribulations in 4 Talks” with a discussion on suicide prevention at 7 p.m. March 27 in the library of Crescenta Valley High School.
Follow Kelly Corrigan on Twitter: @kellymcorrigan.