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Renewed Focus on Schoolyard Bullying Prompts New Measures

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A former La Jolla Country Day School student’s court appearance in a lawsuit on Monday highlights a renewed national focus on bullying in schools.

— A former La Jolla Country Day School student’s court appearance in a lawsuit on Monday highlights a renewed national focus on bullying in schools.

Federal education officials recently organized a White House Conference on Bullying Prevention.

The president and first lady urged educators to find effective ways to prevent harassment and intimidation on school campuses.

In California, there are roughly a dozen senate and assembly bills that target bullying of all kinds.

A recurring theme is helping school officials define what bullying is and how to make kids responsible.

Michelle Molina is with PeaceBuilders, a non-profit group helping schools in San Diego County become more positive and happier places to learn.

She said the big challenge for schools is addressing harassment that begins off campus.

“This is not a surprise to people that kids can be mean to each other,” Molina said. “With the increased value in the use of social media, our kids are connected in new ways, and sometimes they have no direction in which to have those relationships.”

Meanwhile, public universities are also focusing more on bullying.

San Diego assemblyman Marty Block is pushing a bill that would train teachers to identify and deal with harassment of LGBT students.

Block said other lawmakers might object to this type of legislation because of it’s cost, but he feels its worth the investment.

“Frankly, it costs so much more in the long run, the real personal cost of victims of bullying and discrimination,” Block said.

A recent report found that a child is bullied on a school yard every seven minutes.

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