School district spreads awareness about bullying
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Signs of bullying
Unexplained bruises or torn clothing
Non-specific pain or ailments
Fear of going to or from school
Loss of money or school supplies
Depression or suicidal thoughts
Source: EduSafe presentation
What can parents do?
Be a good listener
Do not encourage violence
Control your own emotions
When appropriate, report offenses to law enforcement
Source: EduSafe presentation
Go to visd.com/bullying to learn more or report bullying in the Victoria school district.
Taylor Bearden can't wait for the first day of third-grade at Chandler Elementary School.
But it didn't always used to be that way.
"I was bullied when I was in first-grade," Taylor said. "It was really - it made me sad. I didn't want to be bullied. I didn't want to go to school."
It got so bad, her mom, Jaclyn Bearden said, Taylor would make up reasons why she couldn't go to school.
"As a parent, you see the signs, because she loved school," Bearden said. "But then, everyday, she would be like, 'Oh, my stomach hurts, my head hurts, my nose is running' and finally I was like, 'Why?'"
Bearden said after a talk with Taylor's teacher, who had a sit-down with the other students, the bullying stopped.
But Taylor, a former Little Miss Victoria, hasn't stopped her crusade against bullying.
She and her family attended the community awareness presentation about bullying by the Victoria school district on Thursday.
Tammy Nobles, student services coordinator for the district, said they wanted to explain the new laws on bullying, enacted over the summer, to parents and students.
The community presentation in the evening followed a districtwide training day for all staff members who interact with children, such as teachers, cafeteria workers, bus drivers and custodians.
The community presentation and staff training was led by Dennis Lewis and Judy Brenner from EduSafe and Jenny Wells and Marquette Marsh from the Walsh Anderson Law Firm, of Austin.
"We want our parents and our community to be a partner in our effort to remove bullying from our schools," Nobles said. "We can't do it alone. Everything we have learned about requires a partnership between the parents, the school and the children."
The presenters gave examples of bullying, how parents can recognize bullying and explained some of the ramifications of the new bullying law, HB 1942.
One of the most important factors of the law, they said, was the definition, which must include an "imbalance of power" for the act to be considered bullying.
Brenner, who travels across the United States, said she was impressed that the Victoria school district organized the districtwide training day and gave an opportunity for parents to get involved.
"It is the procedures that are so critical," Nobles said. "We want to make sure all of our employees know who to go to on campus, which forms to document the incidents, where those forms are located, exactly what the policies, local and legal, require."
The staff will have additional training on the individual campuses, Nobles said.
Events like this one are important for parents to learn about bullying and how to communicate with their kids to stop the problem, Bearden said.
"I really love school now," Taylor said, wiggling with excitement.