Santa Maria School Fights Bullying

Efforts to teach children how to avoid bullying underway

POSTED: 11:43 PM PDT Aug 22, 2013    UPDATED: 11:08 AM PDT Aug 23, 2013 

A California State Auditor survey revealed state public schools don't do enough to prevent the issue of bullying among students.

In Santa Maria, a week-long program at Isaac Miller Elementary is geared to teaching students the best ways to avoid bullies, and to avoid becoming a bully.

The school employs Outreach Consultant Gail Bergess to work directly with kids on everyday issues of respect for each other.  She believes bullying goes beyond behavior of children making fun of others, and now includes issues of exclusion.

To really drive the message home for kids, the school has a painted mural with the words "responsible," "respect," and "care."  The school's handball court includes a hand-painted statement from a first grader:  "Don't be a bully, be a buddy."

In October, the school will schedule week's worth of activities including the creation of posters and banners.