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Schools Unite To Combat Bullying

Sonora, CA – Tuolumne County schools are continuing the “Stop It” campaign to end bullying on campuses with help from students.

This Friday, 275 students from 7th through 12th grade representing every school district in Tuolumne County, along with teachers and school administrators, will take part in a conference-style event to fight bullying.  The Tuolumne County Superintendent of Schools Office will host the 3rd Annual Anti-Bullying Summit on the Columbia College campus.

The success over the past three years, says Superintendent Margie Bulkin, can be measured this way, “Three years ago we didn’t have…boys counsel and girls circle at schools, which are opportunities for kids to carry on conversations in a collective way about issues that create separation between students…and how to bring them together.  Those conversations were not happening until we launched the summit, three years ago.”

Additionally, Bulkin says the summits have prompted her office to write a grant to enable counselors at three of the schools to deal with mental health issues involved in bullying.

Below is the Tuolumne County Superintendent Office’s list of speakers and workshops:

  • The Summit’s opening session will highlight the work of Shane Koyczan, and his featured presentation on TED TALKS called “To This Day,” which underscores the importance of accepting differences in one another, free from prejudice, and to honor each person for who they are.
  • The Center for a Non-Violent Community staff, under the direction of Executive Director Laura Sunday, will give a presentation about shaking off stereotypes in an interactive look on how names, labels or words that people wrongly use to describe each other can be both hurtful and harmful.
  • Sonora High School senior Sinclair Darr will give a workshop called “Just Like You.”  Sinclair, who has Down’s syndrome, will talk about gaining a better understanding of Down’s syndrome and an appreciation for diversity. Her talk is aimed at helping students become allies in helping their peers, especially those with disabilities.
  • Bill Silva, school counselor and licensed Marriage and Family Therapist with extensive experience working in various clinical and school counseling settings, will give a workshop exploring the emotional and psychological impact of bullying. Students will learn ways to positively confront bullying.
  • Kristina Herrera, Tuolumne County Public Health Department Tobacco Education & Prevention Coordinator, will give a workshop called “Social Media 101.” Social media is a tool that, if used effectively, can be a powerful way to communicate. Participants will learn effective online communication skills and get resources about how to be responsible and safe while using social media.
  • Soulsbyville Principal Bart Taylor will facilitate a Conflict Resolution/Peer Mediation workshop. Students will explore intervention strategies that promote positive school climate and student connectedness.
  • County Superintendent Margie Bulkin chairs the Anti-Bullying committee, consisting of school counselors and administrators from area school districts, Tuolumne County alternative education teachers and special education teachers, Tuolumne County Behavioral Health staff, and behaviorists from the Mi Wuk Indian Health Clinic.
  • The Summit will conclude with a dramatic performance called “Only 13,” performed by actors from the Gallo Center & Walnut Street Theater. The short play re-enacts the story of a young girl experiencing peer pressure at school coupled with a troubled home life, leaving her to feel very alone, isolated, and worthless, until she meets a friend who gives her a new perspective on what she has going for her.