our take on bullying from Los Angeles, CA

March 19, 2012 in GPRX Blog by Sara Harris

Los Angeles is a "majority-minority-city," and we experience zip-code segregation in a way that people in most other cities wouldn't understand. A network of freeways, a cement-paved river, and hold-overs from restrictive housing covenants separate neighborhoods and school zones. So, we reported from Roosevelt High School- a 95% Latino high school on the east side of Los Angeles- for the "Bullied" specialInitially, reporters Oscar Rodriguez and René Ayala wanted to explore the culture of bullying at their school, but when they started interviewing, they found that most students and teachers thought of it as a problem that doesn't exist. Turns out, that's not uncommon. National research has found that 86% of classroom bullying incidents go unaddressed.

That did not surprise René and Oscar. They came up with a list of questions to take to the foremost expert on bullying prevention and intervention at the Los Angeles Unified School District, Holly Priebe-Díaz. She explained that because of geography and increasing segregation, diversity training in L.A. schools is challenging. Holly also knows what Oscar and René see everyday, that most bullies have been pushed around or mistreated themselves. You can hear Holly's interview with Sara Harris on Hear in the City.

While Holly's interview was awesomely enlightening, it was a little depressing. She's committed to training students and teachers to stop bullying before it gets out of hand by teaching empathy, but explains that these kinds of programs are fewer and farther between. Oscar and René tell us in their story that the school psychologist was cut from Roosevelt's budget. So what happens?

Listen to our story and find out how students have come to rely on their own resources and community to deal with what schools are ignoring.