• Petitioned Dr. Julianne Lein

This petition was delivered to:

Superintendent
Dr. Julianne Lein
Assistant Superitendent
Dr. Karen Tankersley
Director of Curriculum and Staff Development
Tamara Honvlez
Assistant Director of Curriculum and Staff Development
Stephanie Crump
Governing Board Member
Sara Griffin
Governing Board Member
Stephanie Mika
Governing Board Member
Dr. Kay H. Hunnicutt
Governing Board Member
Patrick Doyle
Governing Board President
Shawn M. Watt

Litchfield Elementary School District : Start Taking Bullying Seriously

    1. Merik Castro
    2. Petition by

      Merik Castro

      Avondale, AZ

  1.  
  2.   
January 2013

Victory

Merik Castro: I'm not even an adult, I'm just a kid but I still did it! It was quite a lot of work. From constantly sending out emails to family, friends, and news media to sharing on Facebook. I called the school district to make sure they don't just slip it under the carpet like they did with bullying. And printing out over 2,200 signatures and giving them to the governing board members at a board meeting was a huge and opened up people's eyes. I managed to also get local media to attend the meeting too. I gave a speech on my story and told them they need to start taking bulling seriously. I created two other petitions to keep pressuring them to respond to my emails and change language in the bullying policies. Now they are full on with antibullying. They now have webpages to learn more about bullying, now can send incident report via online, text message and email, also they created a antibullying video. They even added "sexual orientation and personal appearance " to their anti bullying policies.

My name is Merik Castro and I was bullied on a daily basis within the Litchfield Elementary School District, based on my sexual orientation. I was pushed into lockers, called derogatory names, and assaulted, but I was not the only one. I reported the bullying numerous times which left the bullies with the discipline of a "talk" and usually one day of In-School-Suspension (ISS). I wrote a suicide note as a class assignment due to being bullied and was not provided suicide prevention resources and basically was told "Don't do it" by the Assistant Principal. My mother was told by the Superintendent to remove me from school for the last six weeks and to home school me or switch me schools. According the school district's student handbook the bullies are not being disciplined on what they were supposed to receive. It's time that bullies get what they deserve and the district starts taking bullying seriously! If we do not act now, we could soon have a student committing suicide due to the bullying. Bullying affects a child drastically. We can turn around bullying! Bullying is not a phase. We need to insure the safety of students.


What do I want done:
- Ensure that all anti-bullying, anti-harassment, anti-discrimination and anti-intimidation policies specifically include actual and perceived sexual orientation and gender identity.

- Harassment, bullying and intimidation documentation be public
"If a school provides documentation of reported incidents to persons other than school officials or law enforcement, all individually identifiable information shall be reacted." - H.B.2415 http://www.azleg.gov/legtext/50leg/1r/bills/hb2415h.pdf Page 6 Line 4-6

- Implement a ZERO TOLERANCE policy for bullying, harassment, discrimination and intimidation against students and staff.

The board shall consider expulsion of the student and termination of the employee.

- District staff will not engage in or allow bullying, harassment, discrimination and intimidation conduct.

- District staff will not retaliate against any student or employee for making allegations or filing complaints concerning bullying, harassment, discrimination and intimidation.

- District staff will not coerce students to enroll in alternative education or independent study programs because they have complained of bullying, harassment, discrimination and/or intimidation.

- Ensure that actual and perceived sexual orientation and gender identity bullying, harassment, discrimination, and intimidation will be treated as a separate category of prohibited conduct, not as a subset of sexual harassment.

- Starting the following school year and going through each school year, training will be mandatory for all administrators, teachers, counselors, and all other employees who monitor student behavior, including campus monitors, bus drivers, and school custodians. Trainings will focus on harassment and discrimination based on bullying/hate speech of any kind (esp. sexual orientation and gender identity) and will include:

· small-group discussions and exercises on how to address bullying/harassment whenever it arises

· how to properly handle, report, and discipline

· a panel presentation by students who can talk about their own experiences witnessing or dealing with bullying/harassment in schools

· discussion of district policies and state and federal laws regarding anti-LGBT harassment

· informing them of their affirmative responsibilities to maintain a safe and learning environment for all students

· the legal obligations of district employees, and

· community resources to aid victims of harassment and discrimination.

Follow-up trainings will include discussion of the climate at district schools, how staff has handled incidents of bullying, harassment, discrimination and intimidation in the past, and developing strategies for preventing future incidents.

Administrators will receive further training on how to provide guidance to other staff and employees about handling bullying, harassment, discrimination and intimidation. Each semester, staff will review all district policies and procedures on the reporting and prevention of and responses to incidents bullying, harassment, discrimination and intimidation, and ensure school safety.

- Starting the following school year and going though each school year, the district will provide a mandatory peer-to-peer training session that focuses exclusively on the subject of preventing bullying, harassment, discrimination and intimidation. The student trainings will include a review of school policies, including disciplinary policies, and how to report any bullying, harassment, discrimination and intimidation.

Follow-up trainings each semester, will include discussion of the climate at their school, how students reported bullying, harassment, discrimination and intimidation in the past, and developing strategies for preventing future incidents.

- Each school and district office will have suicide, bullying, harassment, discrimination and intimidation prevention resources available in a known place and online via their website.

 

Statistics: 
"29.1% of LGBT students missed a class at least once and 30.0% missed at least one day of school in the past month because of safety concerns..." 
"84.6% of LGBT students reported being verbally harassed, 40.1% reported being physically harassed and 18.8% reported being physically assaulted at school in the past year because of their sexual orientation." 
"63.7% of LGBT students reported being verbally harassed, 27.2% reported being physically harassed and 12.5% reported being physically assaulted at school in the past year because of their gender expression." 
"Nearly two-thirds (61.1%) of students reported that they felt unsafe in school because of their sexual orientation, and more than a third (39.9%) felt unsafe because of their gender expression." 
GLSEN 2009 National School Climate Survey

"As many as 160,000 students stay home on any given day because they're afraid of being bullied. " 
"1 out of 4 teens are bullied." 
"More youth violence occurs on school grounds as opposed to on the way to school. " 
" 80% of the time, an argument with a bully will end up in a physical fight. " 
"43% fear harassment in the bathroom at school. " 
Stomp Out Bullying Issues of Bullying - Bullying Statistics 
http://www.stompoutbullying.org/aboutbullying_theissue.php

Related News: 
http://www.azcentral.com/community/surprise/articles/2011/04/18/20110418litchfield-park-gay-student-bullying.html 
http://www.azfamily.com/news/local/West-valley-family-calls-on-school-to-intervene-against-bullying-120554889.html

Recent signatures

    News

    1. Litchfield Elementary district launches anti-bullying website

      Merik Castro
      Petition Organizer

      VICTORY! The Litchfield Elementary School District is finally taking bullying seriously! Although they adopted new policies, we must make sure they follow through with them.

    2. Reached 3,000 signatures
    3. Litchfield Elementary School District OKs new bullying policy

      Merik Castro
      Petition Organizer

      I presented my petition at the Litchfield Elementary School District's governing board meeting last Tuesday. Although they didn't adopt anything from what I what done, this is a start! Not going to stop fighting, until they start taking bullying seriously!

    4. Reached 2,500 signatures
    5. Teen takes on bias, bullies in Litchfield Elementary district

      Merik Castro
      Petition Organizer

      Thank you Ms. Eddi Trevizo for writing this for the Arizona Republic!

    6. 1,000 SIGNATURES REACHED!

      Merik Castro
      Petition Organizer

      Thank you everyone for your support! I don't even know what to say! I'm just so happy right now! This petition will remain active until the Litchfield Elementary School District changes their policies and follows their policies!

    7. Reached 1,000 signatures
    8. "Valley teen puts pressure on school district to target bullying"

      Merik Castro
      Petition Organizer

      Thank you Ms. Stacey Delikat for the interview!

    9. Reached 250 signatures
    10. Governing Board Meeting

      Merik Castro
      Petition Organizer

      I asked to be put on the agenda of the school district's governing board meeting on October 4th, at 6:00pm. I was told that I have 3 minutes to present and talk about my petition. 3 minutes may not be enough time, but I will make the most of it!

    11. Interview with an Arizona Republic reporter tomorrow!

      Merik Castro
      Petition Organizer

      Tomorrow, I have an interview with an Arizona Republic reporter! I can't wait to tell my story and talk about how the petition movement is going so far!

      I have been previously in the media, but I was anonymous. Its time that I reveal myself.

    12. Reached 100 signatures

    Supporters

    Reasons for signing

    • Katie McManus BINGHAMTON, NY
      • over 2 years ago

      All Children have a right to feel safe and protected at school. Bullying cannot be tolerated at any school!

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Tasha Whitt RUTLEDGE, TN
      • over 2 years ago

      I am a Christian and only believe in one type of relationship, which is man and woman. I also believe that some things need to wait until after marriage. However, as a Christian, I always do not believe in bullying or mistreating others for any reason. Jesus did not mistreat unbelievers. He showed compassion and love towards people that treated him badly and done sinful things. I am signing this petition because I am 100% against bullying or any kind of mistreatment towards someone because you do not agree with their lifestyle. Praying is what needs to be done.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Leandro Di Capua VAN NUYS, CA
      • over 2 years ago

      I want my son to be protected in the future

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Jacqui Trevillian DIGGERS REST, AUSTRALIA
      • over 2 years ago

      I am all for stamping out bullying in schools, and the workplace and everywhere else in society for that matter, but whenever I hear about bullying I always have to ask "what has been done to the bully to make them this way?" More often than not they have been victimised themselves in the home, and if we can stamp that out, it wil go a long way to eliminating bullying altogether

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • J W SACRAMENTO, CA
      • over 2 years ago

      Litchfield Elementary School District, is setting themselves up for a federal lawsuit(s) maybe then they can protect all students.

      Tell Nevada OSHA to STOP Protecting Child Abusers

      http://www.change.org/petitions/protect-state-foster-youth-and-staff-who-have-government-protections?te=seia

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:

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