In the words of Vice Mayor and First District Councilmember Robert Garcia, “Bullying is obviously a big issue—not just here locally but on a national level.”
Statistics back up Garcia’s assertion: 2010, the most recent data available in regards to bully studies, show that an estimated 160,000 children miss school everyday due to fear of being bullied. With the advent of online communication, these numbers increase each year as the ease with which children and teenagers can attack simultaneously increases.
One in seven students, kindergarten through 12th grade, openly identifies as either a bully or a victim of bullying.
Following the “It Gets Better” Video—an initiative started by writer Dan Savage following the string of saddening teenage and child “bullycides,” or those who kill themselves due to bullying—Garcia, Mayor Bob Foster and a host of local leaders and citizens, began to talk about how to address bullying on a larger scale.
The Long Beach Unified School District (LBUSD) has, since 2005, adopted policies that address creating safer and more secure environments. However, Garcia and company suddenly realized that the second largest provider of youth services in the city, the City government, has not taken a more definitive role in creating the same safety nets.
This prompted his proposal to draft and adopt an anti-bullying policy for the City of Long Beach to be implemented through its youth programs and parks, having been passed unanimously by the Council this past Tuesday. The policy will be drafted by the City Attorney’s office and returned to Council for final approval later this summer.
Garcia’s motion, co-sponsored by Councilmembers Schipske, Johnson and Neal, directs the City manager to work with the Human Relations Commission to craft an anti-bullying policy based on LBUSD’s.
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