Dear Parents and Guardians,
We know that as parents and guardians you are concerned about the recent news stories and Facebook postings concerning an incident in which a child hurt another child on our campus. I want to assure you that we are just as concerned as you are. As educators, our number one job is the safety of the students that you entrust to us. It grieves us to see a student hurt in any way, particularly when it involves physical injury.
Please know that we are fully aware of the dangers of bullying and mean behavior. To that end, in the past several years we have put multiple people and programs in place to focus on teaching and rewarding positive behavior. At the same time, we have numerous interventions and, when necessary, consequences for students who choose not to follow our school-wide behavior expectations. Here are some of the ways we’re trying to prevent bullying and mean behavior:
- We have added a full time counselor
- There are two part-time mental health therapists serving our school
- A part time behavior specialist/PBIS coordinator works with the staff and students
- We have added additional supervision aides on the playgrounds
- We have implemented Playworks, a structured recess program and also added a recess coach to keep all students involved at recess
- Teachers provide weekly social skills lessons and Second Step anti-bullying lessons in every class
- Positive character skills are taught to all students using Coach Wooden’s Pyramid to Success program
- We are starting an after school program, Kids Create Peace, that focuses on teaching students ‘empathy’
- We’ve created the “zero office referrals award” to recognize grade levels that reach 20 days without an office referral
Two Bunch Palms had the highest suspension rate of any of the PSUSD elementary schools in the 2017-18 school year. While this isn’t a source of pride, it does indicate that we are serious about consequences for students who cause harm to others. When meeting with parents of children being suspended, we attempt to garner parent support for improving their child’s behavior. Our goal, ultimately, is to have a much lower suspension rate because the programs that we have put in place and the support of our families have helped us to reduce the number of physical incidents on our campus.
This past Tuesday during the PSUSD School Board meeting many parents spoke about their concerns regarding bullying in schools. As I listened to those parents I could hear the anguish and helplessness they’re feeling. We share that anguish, but the situation is not helpless nor hopeless. We have resources in place, and we will put more in place, until we can turn the tide on bullying.
As always, Mrs. Fenton and I are interested in suggestions you have that will help us help our school. If you would like to meet with either of us, just contact the office at (760) 251-7220 or stop by. We’ll see you right away if we’re available, or the office staff can make an appointment for you.
Thank you for your part in teaching our students to be courteous, safe and responsible!