Bullying is a Grownups' Problem
A two-day summit against bullying wrapped up over the weekend at San Francisco's Presidio, with educators, prosecutors, and parents asking how adults can stop kids from abusing other kids.
San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee says his school district and others have to take the problem of bullying head on. Lee says kids abusing other kids is a rampant problem. He's experienced it personally.
"Being of Asian stature, which is generally not your Yao Ming or your Jeremy Lin, you're shorter," Lee said, referring to one retired and one current player in the NBA. "For me, people said, 'well you can't play basketball. You're Asian.' And if people were mad at you for whatever reason, the word 'Chink' came out or 'Jap,' and you'd want to retaliate for whatever reason and it would escalate. That hurts."
Lee and the US Attorney's office headlined the statewide summit aimed at finding solutions.
Lisa Ford Berry came from Sacramento to share the story of her son Michael, who committed suicide after classmates accused him of being gay and taunted him.
"My child was in jeopardy and no one -- not my son, and not the school -- no one told my husband and I," Ford Berry said. "I got a phone call three hours after Michael left, telling me that Michael was in the hospital from a self-inflicted gunshot wound."
Oakland's school superintendent Tony Smith committed to screening a film on bullying for the 13,000 sixth- to twelfth-graders in his district. Smith says that to stem the violence, "we have a long way to go."
San Francisco seventh-grader Alexis Minnis recalled a friend who was taunted for having two dads.
"They're like 'oh, you're gay because your parents are gay,' which is not true," Minnis said, her eyes tearing up. "And the teachers do stuff, which is good. But they [the kids] keep doing it."
According to the California Healthy Kids survey, more than 40 percent of seventh-graders report being bullied.