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This week’s safe schools snippets

School bullying: Kids React (VIDEO)

There are myriad opinions on why kids bully, how to get rid of bullying in schools and whether eliminating bullying altogether is even possible. But for a lot of those issues, the voices are coming indirectly – from parents, teachers and others who aren’t the direct perpetrators or victims.

In a new video by The Fine Bros, filmmakers Benny and Rafi Fine go straight to the source and talk to kids about bullying. Watch the video above as kids react to a video of a student victim standing up to his bully, and hear what these kids have to say about what a bully is, how to handle a bullying situation, whether cyber bullying is worse and what they think schools should really be doing to combat bullying. Read more in the Huffington Post.

An alternate approach to stop school bullying: Fix the victims

Elementary school is rough. There’s no textbook for dealing with bullies, so children who are suddenly immersed in peer groups have to figure out how to handle difficult people on their own. And though many schools have anti-bullying programs in place, “most of them are not based on research or have not been tested for effectiveness,” says child psychologist Jennifer Connor-Smith. Bullying research, it seems, has focused more on understanding aggressors, not the aggrieved. Given how pervasive and brutal bullying is, however, it’s hard to justify a prevention-heavy approach to research that neglects treatment. Read more in the Atlantic.

Asian Americans most bullied in U.S. schools: study

WASHINGTON — Asian Americans endure far more bullying at US schools than members of other ethnic groups, with teenagers of the community three times as likely to face taunts on the Internet, new data shows.

Policymakers see a range of reasons for the harassment, including language barriers faced by some Asian American students and a spike in racial abuse following the September 11, 2001 attacks against children perceived as Muslim. Read more in AFP.

After rape by H.S. “friend,” Boulder woman finds her voice

Soon after she graduated from Fairview High School in June, Anna Hanson was violently raped by the young man she thought of as her best friend.

Hanson fought back and managed to call 911 and hold her attacker until police arrived. Read more in the Daily Camera.

Meth discussion draws passionate crowd

Karl Cline thought he was being optimistic when he guessed that about a dozen people would come to the recent Knowledge Circles community lecture about methamphetamine at Centennial Mental Health Center in Fort Morgan. Read more in the Fort Morgan Times.

Bullying summit an important community event

The topic of bullying has received plenty of warranted attention.

Far from the rather benign stereotype of the bigger child stealing lunch money from smaller children, bullying has evolved into a situation that affects youths in a much deeper and much more dangerous manner. For some children, bullying is a daily occurrence at school that prevents them from getting the most from their education; it even affects the dropout rate. For others, bullying is fostered through the use of technology, with text messages and Facebook posts that are so innately cruel that some children have been pushed to commit suicide or run away. Read more in the Coloradoan.

Boy assaults gay student as cell phone captures attack

An Ohio high school student waited in a classroom to attack a 15-year-old gay classmate, beating him repeatedly in a vicious assault captured by a bystander on a cellphone.

“I covered myself and shielded my body, and he kept hitting,” the gay student, who did not want to be identified, told ABC’s affiliate WSYX in Ohio. “Nobody did anything.” Watch the ABC News report.

More schools take action to stem anti-gay bullying

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A history teacher amends his lessons on the civil rights movement to include the push for gay equality. A high school removes Internet filters blocking gay advocacy websites. Six gay students sue their district, saying officials failed to protect them from bullies.

After anti-gay bullying led to a spate of teen suicides last year, school districts across the country are stepping up efforts to prevent such incidents, while more students are coming forward to report bullies. Read more the Associated Press story.

Fight against bullying moves to Congress

Nearly every state has its own laws addressing bullying, but now federal lawmakers are weighing legislation to protect students from bullying and harassment that would apply to every school and district in the country and could also add an explicit layer of protection for students who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender. Read more in EdWeek.

Adams 14 celebrates National School Bus Safety Week

Adams County School District 14 (Adams 14), which serves more than 7,000 students annually, celebrated national school bus safety last week.

The Adams 14 Transportation Department is comprised of 35 employees, who are overseen by Transportation Manager, Al Francisco, and includes a fleet of 36 buses that transport nearly 3,000 students to and from school each day. The Transportation Department’s ongoing safety record has resulted in great cost savings for the District.

“In the last two years, we’ve only had one accident, with no student injuries,” said Francisco.

The Transportation Department has also come in under budget the last two years, and is anticipating this trend to continue.

“Our drivers are vocal with ideas to enhance safety, increase efficiencies and reduce costs,” he said.

Bus drivers in Adams 14 go above and beyond state-mandated trainings to ensure the Department is made up of well-rounded drivers who promote the safe travels of all students.

“The state requires a 20-hour in-service training for all district transportation departments at the beginning of each school year. In Adams 14, we match that with a 40-hour in-service training, where our drivers experience more in-depth professional development regarding student safety, student behavior management and teamwork best practices.”

All district drivers also participate in a mountain skills training, which prepares them for the unique situations mountain driving presents – specifically in the winter months.

About our First Person series:

First Person is where Chalkbeat features personal essays by educators, students, parents, and others trying to improve public education. Read our submission guidelines here.