Bullying is a community issue
by Anne Marie Fuller
Aug 29, 2013 | 2806 views | 0 0 comments | 195 195 recommendations | email to a friend | print
It was estimated in 2010 that 160,000 children nationwide stayed home from school every day because of fear of being bullied.

That statistic comes from BullyingStatistics.org. Bullying is a cowardly trend that has been passed down through the generations.

Bullies spew hurtful lies, willfully causing damage to the person on the receiving end. They tear down instead of building up and exclude instead of including.

No one is immune to a willful bully; even yours truly experienced the cruelty of the harsh words used by school-aged bullies. When I was in the fourth grade, I had short hair and a cowlick right in front. Each morning, the school kids would taunt me and call me ugly and other names. I remember wondering, were they right?

It’s interesting that, years later, I would find myself in front of the camera as a print model and even go on to win the state title of Mrs. California BOTN and then the national title of Mrs. Beauties of the Nation. Those hurtful words spoken to me in my youth did not determine the person I became.

With all our knowledge of bullying, does it still happen? Unfortunately, the answer is yes. But Tracy Unified School District is teaming up with Tracy Crime Stoppers to do something about it.

The two groups have collaborated to set up Students Speaking Out, an active tip line where students can anonymously report bullying. In addition, students can report peers with drugs or weapons or threats involving harm.

“This is a productive vehicle that students can use to make their school safer,” explained Marshall Rose, the president of Tracy Crime Stoppers. “This is anonymous and could help save a life. Students that are bullied are more likely to attempt suicide. A student can report things by calling the tip line, texting or using our website.”

Paul Hall, the director of student services and curriculum for TUSD, emphasized the broad reach of the response to bullying.

“We want all our kids to go to school in a safe environment and have access to learning,” Hall said. “It’s important that we have everyone involved from the schools, City Council, businesses and the community. We need to look at all facets of bullying. Everyone is a person that deserves to be treated with respect and have self worth.”

The school district is also hosting several events throughout the year to help raise awareness on this subject, including an antibully rally scheduled for Nov. 14 at the Kimball High School theater, 3200 Jaguar Run. A poster project will start Sunday, Sept. 1, and students are encouraged to take part and depict this year’s theme: “You’re not alone — I can help.”

The call-in tip line is 831-4847. More information can be found at www.tracycrimestoppers.com and www.tracy.k12.ca.us.

• Anne Marie Fuller is a Tracy arts commissioner and the host of “Helpful Hints with Anne Marie,” which airs on Channel 26 at 7 p.m. Fridays. Contact her at annemarie@columnist.com.

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