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Taking a Stand Against Bullying in our Schools

Dear Folsom Cordova family:
 
Hearts continue to ache throughout our school communities over the tragic loss of young Ronin Shimizu. Please continue to keep his family, friends and loved ones in your thoughts and prayers during this terribly difficult time.
 
As we all process our shock and sadness, our school district has understandably received many questions about how we address bullying in our schools. We may never know all of the factors that led to Ronin’s passing, but we share your concern in any case where a child may have endured torment. We must not only talk about bullying, but we must work together to stop it.  
 
We expect all members of our school communities - students, staff and families - to treat each other with respect, kindness and dignity. Every child deserves to learn and succeed in a safe, caring and accepting environment. When that is not happening, we must take action. As a school district, we will not tolerate bullying, harassment or intimidation of any kind. Students found to engage in such harmful, destructive behavior will face serious consequences.
 
It’s important to emphasize that prevention is an equally important part of this conversation.  Folsom Cordova has long implemented character education and positive school climate programs in our classrooms that teach empathy, communication and other skills and habits that are intended to stop bullying before it happens. We regularly train our teachers and staff members on how to respond to reports of bullying. Many of our schools provide additional programs and resources tailored for their school communities. And earlier this year, our district joined the City of Rancho Cordova to host a screening of the documentary “Bully” and led a productive group discussion with families.
 
Looking ahead, we remain committed to continuing a meaningful, lasting dialogue with our community about working together to prevent bullying and provide children with the physical and emotional support they deserve. Our schools already are exploring additional resources and activities for our students, and we are seeking your input as well.
 
We all play an important role in addressing this issue. Students can make an impact by speaking up to an adult when they witness bullying, or standing up for their classmates when it is safe to do so. I also encourage families to keep talking to your children about bullying and any difficult feelings or experiences they have endured. The Bully Project (www.thebullyproject.com) and stopbullying.gov are among the myriad resources available for families, students and educators to help facilitate those challenging conversations. 
 
No child should suffer from bullying. Please join me in taking a stand against this problem.
 
Sincerely,
Deborah Bettencourt