San Diego School District Tackles Adult-on-Child Bullying

This issue really has to do with policy and procedure and is challenging for district administrators because it's hard to prove

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    NEWSLETTERS

    A task force of parents, community members and San Diego school officials are working on how the district can protect a student from adult bullying.

    "When does that rise to the level of something that is criminal in nature,” said Superintendent Cindy Marten.

    Schools Task Force on Adult Bullying Meets

    [DGO] Schools Task Force on Adult Bullying Meets
    San Diego Superintendent Cindy Marten meets with a task force of parents, teachers and school administrators to tackle the issue of adults bullying children. NBC 7's Danya Bacchus reports. (Published Friday, Aug 23, 2013)

    It's a question that doesn't seem to have a clear cut answer.

    San Diego Unified School District realizes adult-student bullying is an issue but there is a fine line.

    The district has been criticized for the way it handles teacher-student bullying. SDUSD has policies and procedures in place however a Grand Jury report said the district lacked investigative policy.

    Incidents range from a teacher calling a child stupid to throwing books across a classroom.

    Now the school system is trying to figure out the best way to deal with the problem but it may be more complicated than administrators thought.

    This issue really has to do with policy and procedure and is challenging for district administrators because it's hard to prove.

    And though there may be evidence of emotional trauma to a child that doesn't necessarily mean someone can be blamed.

    "They said today that some of the things that our parents have been most worried about are not crimes so if there's not a crime, then there's not a punishment,” Marten said.

    It's one of the reasons why new Superintendent Cindy Martin wanted to bring different city and county agencies to the table.

    "Where do parents and guardians, who do they call, where do they call, we need to figure out collaboratively how to the fill the gaps, a process,” said parent Susan Hoops-Tatum.

    The purpose of the meeting wasn't necessarily to come up with a solution immediately but instead, to get the ball rolling.

    Even though there is still work to be done, parents who have dealt with the issue say this provides some relief.

    "Finally people are listening to us as a whole. It's hard when you're an individual parent because your immediate concern is protecting your child and here we are trying to protect children as a whole,” said Hoops-Tatum.

    They are working to get clarification with the law, figuring out prosecution, or if it’s just about educating teachers, parents and administrations.

    The task force plans to meet again next month.