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 SDCOE and Chula Vista Police Department Discuss Best Practices in Bullying Prevention

​The big buzz around school campuses these days isn’t only about the budget. Bullying at school and on the Internet was recently cited by both the President and First Lady, and educators and parents across the country are taking a new look at what works in bullying prevention, and what doesn’t.

Recently, the San Diego County Office of Education and the Chula Vista Police Department hosted a half-day training focused on research-based solutions to reduce bullying on school campuses.

“Unfortunately, many students fear that telling an adult will only make matters worse,” said Mara Madrigal-Weiss, Project Specialist Student Support Services, SDCOE. “As we’ve seen with several cases, that only secludes the child who’s being abused and can even lead to suicide.”

Madrigal-Weiss collaborated with Chula Vista Police Department Public Safety Analyst Melanie Culuko to explain national trends in bullying, and successful research-based tactics to reduce and prevent it.

According to Culuko, between 30-60% of students are impacted by bullying. According to Culuko, 21% of students have admitted to receiving a mean or threatening email or other message.

“Bullying can really affect the learning environment for students,” said Madrigal-Weiss. ”Students can learn when they’re afraid. It’s important that teachers and staff intervene when bullying is witnessed.”

Dori Smith, an attendee at the bullying prevention training, said she was bullied as a child and as a result suffered psychological problems. Smith, who is now a puppeteer, said, “Growing up as a child who was bullied, it affected some of the most important years of my life. If possible, I want to be able to prevent this from happening to children today.”

Said Madrigal-Weiss, “No campus or community is immune to this issue. Bullying is happening in every district and every campus, and it’s important that we do our best to prevent it from happening.”

Participating districts included Ramona Unified, San Diego Unified, Cajon Valley Union, Lemon Grove, Mountain Empire, National, Santee, Solana Beach and Sweetwater Union High School District.