Orange Coast League Girls Cross Country:

LBHS Varsity takes first place

 

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Varsity Girls Race (l-r) - Sydney Schaefgen, Jessie Rose and Hannah Konkel


TOW Elementary wants retired staff and alumni 1967 – 2017 to join a 50-year anniversary event

TOW Elementary wants retired staff and alumni 1967 – 2017 to join in celebrating its a 50-year anniversary celebration of education during the Back-to-School Bonanza event on Oct 6 from 3 – 6. The celebration will take place on the school fields.

These outfits are likely what the well-dressed teachers of 1967 were wearing

Guests will check in to get a button, “class of” badge, buy a 50th T-shirt and sign the memory book. At 5 p.m., Principal Michael Conlon will offer a few remarks and a birthday cake will be served.

The annual Back-to-School Bonanza features food, drinks, games, silent auction and live music. The fundraiser helps support field trips and speakers and fund classroom supplies. Click on tinyurl.com/TOW50 to respond to the invitation.


OC High School Beach Volleyball Championships yield clean sweep for LBHS on Sept 29,30

For the second time, Main Beach in Laguna was the site for The OC High School Beach Volleyball Championships, held this year on Sept 29 and 30. Competing with some of the best teams from high schools all over the county for the titles, LBHS took home 1st and 3rd place medals, completing a clean sweep.

This is also the second time the Breakers have taken home the 1st place medals.

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l-r, 1st and 2nd place teams, Josh McManus, Cameron Garcia, Geste Bianchi, Ayrton Garcia

Ayrton Garcia and Geste Bianchi (LBHS) took home the 1st place medals, beating out Josh McManus and Cameron Garcia (LBHS) in dramatic fashion, winning the 3rd, and decisive, game 16-14 in the late afternoon sun.

Laguna Beach High School made it a clean sweep on the podium when Enzo Sadler and Sam Burgi won the 3rd place game over Erik Weisinger and Jack Colby from Los Alamitos HS.


El Morro, TOW and Thurston schools implement anti-bullying programs, emphasizing respect for others

By LYNETTE BRASFIELD

Those of us who were fat kids (check), wore thick glasses (check), or lived on the wrong side of town (check), have personal knowledge of what it is like to be bullied at school. 

The experience is heartbreaking and humiliating, and while you’re going through it, the agony seems as though it will never end. Often teachers seem oblivious, and you’d rather suffer through hell than be considered a snitch – especially given the terrifying consequences if the bully in question finds out that you told on him or her.

And these days, it seems, there’s so much more to be bullied about, from your parents’ political views, to your online postings, to your clothing (thank heavens for school uniforms in my day, is all I can say).

There are also plenty more avenues for bullies to express their particular brand of meanness.

I don’t think I could have survived social media.

Our schools are taking serious steps to combat bullying

Fortunately, our local schools understand the pain inflicted by bullying and are taking serious steps to prevent its occurrence.

“All of our schools are adopting a ‘No Place for Hate’ pledge in conjunction with the ADL (Anti Defamation League) and we took our annual resolution regarding bullying at our September meeting,” LBUSD Superintendent Dr. Jason Viloria says. 

“Each site has plans on how they address bullying awareness, including programs emphasizing the need to be an ‘upstander and not a bystander’ and/or bringing in speakers to talk about the issue.”

What exactly is bullying?

I asked El Morro school principal Chris Duddy what form bullying tended to take in an elementary school setting. 

“Some elementary school kids think that any unkind remark or conflict is bullying – for example, they’ll say, ‘it was my turn to be first, not his. He’s a bully.’ We explain the difference between bullying and a disagreement, that bullying is when the behavior is intentional, intimidating and ongoing – we use simpler terms, of course.”

Duddy says that teachers use a common language to address these issues so that the approach is consistent school-wide. 

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El Morro principal Chris Duddy and the bully-free zone

“When there’s a conflict, we try to get the kids to find a win-win situation,” he says. “For example, ‘you go first this time, and I’ll go first next time.’”

While El Morro has adopted the “No Place for Hate” theme common within the school district, Duddy prefers to focus primarily on respect. 

“A kid might correctly say, ‘I don’t hate that person’ yet still be a bully,” he notes. “So we place a lot of emphasis on the need to respect each other’s differences rather than on the emotion of hate. Respect is key.”

Duddy says the school particularly likes to emphasize “Be an Upstander, not a Bystander,” which encourages the kids to speak up when they see someone being bullied.

Teachers tell kids how they were bullied in their day

Several teachers at El Morro have recorded videos speaking out about their own experiences when, as kids, they were subject to bullying, perhaps because of stuttering, or shyness, or because they spoke English as a second language. These videos, shown during “Respectability Assemblies” provide the kids with evidence that their teachers are human and can relate to their problems – that it is safe to talk to them.

“The mantra ‘stop, talk, walk’ is another useful tool in teaching kids how to respond to bullying behavior. All these activities help establish a positive school climate,” Duddy says. 

A tour of the school grounds shows the anti-bullying program in action. Large posters explain core values such as caring, trustworthiness and fairness.

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Providing fun playground activities also serves as an anti-bullying measure

As we walk, it becomes clear that the kids feel comfortable with the principal. He listens intently as a young girl tells him about her water bottle being thrown into the toilet (which reminds me of the time my younger son’s backpack was tossed into a dumpster – is it possible that one’s kids being bullied hurts more than being bullied oneself?).

Duddy nods his head in acknowledgement of her distress and suggests that she talk to her teacher about what happened. The question: Was this the action of a bully or an impulsive, mischievous act by a kid too young to understand the hurt he or she might cause?

Either way, I feel confident that at El Morro this will result in a teachable moment.

Tree of Respect illustrates TOW kids’ pledges

“TOW is similar to El Morro,” principal Michael Conlon says. “We’ve launched ‘No Place For Hate’ with our students and staff. The students took a pledge last Friday and each signed a hand that will be used to make our Tree of Respect.”

“We also teach the importance of being respectful and kind through our beginning of year behavior assemblies, and we speak about the importance of being an upstander.”

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Top of the World Elementary’s Tree of Respect

In October, Anti-Bullying Awareness Month, TOW Elementary will implement its first Kindness Week, full of activities focused on spreading the messages of respect and ‘no place for hate.”

Examples include:

Give five high fives today and write letters for Laguna Beach Police at lunch.·  

Shade out bullying – Wear your sunglasses today or design your own shades and journal during lunch.

Stand together at TOW and show how we accept each other’s individuality. Wear different colored socks to show your support.      

Compliment Day: Give compliments to everyone you meet.

Tell it with a Tiara and Compliment with a crown at lunch today.        

Anti-bullying Day: Wear Orange to show your support

Be Thurston: Middle school programs stress empathy for others

Jenny Salberg, principal of Thurston Middle School, has been hard at work with Laura Silver (ELA teacher) and Megan Matthias (social studies teacher) developing October anti-bullying activities.

“In Language Arts, students will read a narrative non-fiction piece about two teenaged Syrian refugees in the United States. Students will discuss why these young people became refugees and the challenges that refugees face abroad and within the United States,” Salberg says. “The discussion will be geared toward creating empathy – globally and locally – and [will focus on] how to treat others who may be different.”

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Be Thurston means be kind, be empathetic, be respectful

On October 18 at Thurston Middle School, students campus-wide will participate in a “Mix it Up Day.” 

“This Teaching for Tolerance initiative encourages students to change their usual lunch time patterns and invite new friends to sit, eat, or play with them during the lunch break,” Salberg explains. “Our teachers and staff will also bring beach chairs and join our students on campus to socialize and eat our mid-day meals. The goal is to push everyone a bit outside of their comfort zones and make new connections and friends among people they may not usually spend time with.” 

Then, later in the month, in Social Studies, students will sign a Resolution of Respect as a part of Thurston’s No Place For Hate initiative. 

“Students will view a short video about the Resolution as well as engage in a discussion that links all of October’s events: United in Kindness, Be an Upstander, Mix it Up, No Place for Hate, and so on,” Salberg adds.

Bullying is behavior that can never be entirely eradicated, given human nature, but it is comforting to learn about the programs being implemented at our schools, especially because in today’s environment, role models can be hard to come by. 

High fives to LBUSD…and may the force of kindness be with us all.

Shaena Stabler is the Owner and Publisher.

Lynette Brasfield is our Editor.

Dianne Russell is our Associate Editor.

The Webmaster is Michael Sterling.

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Alexis Amaradio, Cameron Gillepsie, Allison Rael, Barbara Diamond, Diane Armitage, Laura Buckle, Maggi Henrikson, Marrie Stone, Samantha Washer and Suzie Harrison are staff writers.

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