Thursday, April 2, 2009

Calistoga schools finally discuss bullying

I would like to thank the Calistoga Junior/Senior High School drama class for being willing to address the controversial issue of school bullying. I am a 1986 graduate who was subjected to bullying and ostracism throughout nearly all of my K-12 career in the Calistoga schools.

I believe that staging a drama such as "Bang, Bang You're Dead" will do much to facilitate an open acknowledgment of bullying. As drama teacher Tyrone Sorrentino points out, the play draws attention to a statistic that school violence has increased 82 percent in the past five years.

Even when a victim does not resort to violence against his or her peers, the consequences can still be devastating; bullying is a documented factor in many young people's suicides and has also been identified as a contributor to Complex PTSD.

I especially appreciate the statement by cast member Andres Hernandez, that name calling and teasing do go on. One of the worst consequences of bullying that I have lately observed is a refusal by some individuals to believe that a victim was abused and that if something happened it was the victim's responsibility to somehow correct or prevent.

Hernandez's first-hand observation, in my hometown newspaper, make it much more difficult to dismiss a victim's tale of abuse.

I hope that members of the Calistoga schools community will respond to this opportunity for open dialogue about bullying. I realize that many alumni would prefer to believe that CHS students were and are "better" than that -- but we must be willing to take an objective look at what has happened and what is continuing to occur within our local schools.

Cynthia Parkhill
Class of 1986, Calistoga Junior/Senior High School

Submitted on April 2, 2009 to the Weekly Calistogan

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