LANCASTER – Students, teachers, and school district board members crammed the Lancaster council meeting Tuesday night hoping to send a clear message to the community regarding bullying: NOT IN OUR TOWN!
“Our whole class wrote that we will never ever bully anybody,” said six-grader Karina Patel from Quartz Hill Elementary. “It’s very mean to bully anybody.”
“People should stop bullying and trust each other,” said 10-year-old Jessica Kemper. “Stop bullying and try and make a difference in life.”
“This is important for every school, because bullying has gotten to be a big issue that needs to be addressed,” said sixth-grade teacher Lisa Harmon. “It needs to be addressed starting in kindergarten, so that’s what we’re doing.”
The massive anti-bullying event was part of the second annual Not In Our Town proclamation signing and the first annual Bullying Prevention Month for the city of Lancaster (read more here).
At Tuesday’s council meeting, Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris, Westside Union School District Board President Linda Jones, Eastside School District Board President Peggy Foster, Lancaster School District Board President Keith Giles and Antelope Valley Union High School District Board President Donita Winn signed a Not In Our Town proclamation, which read:
WHEREAS schools make substantial contributions to the future of America and to the development of our young people as responsible and productive citizens; and
WHEREAS excellence in education is dependent on safe and distinguished environments; and
WHEREAS bullying has escalated to unacceptable proportions across the globe, interfering with the emotional, social and academic development of our youth; and
WHEREAS we must safeguard schools for our children and guarantee them an environment that holds promise and security; and
WHEREAS it is critical that we acknowledge and heighten awareness about the negative effects of bullying, which may include the risk of teenage suicide; and
WHEREAS it is the personal responsibility of all citizens of the city of Lancaster to create solutions to prevent bullying, including educators, parents, business owners, civic leaders and law enforcement personnel; and
WHEREAS the city of Lancaster wishes to continue the coalition of anti-bullying schools. This coalition will include the school districts of Antelope Valley Union High Schools, Eastside Union, Lancaster, and Westside Union;
NOW, THEREFORE, be it declared that the community of Lancaster, California will designate the month of November 2012 to anti-bullying activities and stand together as a community, united, with unwavering resolve that when it comes to bullying, we stand by this pledge and proclaim:
NOT IN OUR TOWN!
“I’m beyond blessed to see it expanding and growing,” said counselor Lauri Massari, who created the Not In Our School anti-bullying program at Del Sur school, which spread to the entire Lancaster community. Del Sur middle school was also featured in the nationally broadcast PBS premiere of Not In Our Town – Class Actions, which aired earlier this year (read more here).
“The momentum is growing and everybody is getting on board and seeing how powerful it is and how doable it is,” Massari said. “Respect is contagious, and when you start to spread that, it makes everybody want to get on board.”