San Francisco D.A.’s Ongoing Effort to Battle Cyberbullying in Local Schools

By Christine Hsu

San Francisco’s second annual “Bye Bye Bullying” video contest kicked off yesterday for students in the city’s middle and high schools. Students can submit one-minute videos against cyberbullying to the S.F. District Attorney’s website between now and November 8.

Deangelo Garrett, a 17-year-old student at the city’s Life Learning Academy charter school, rapped his way into becoming the Fan Favorite Winner last year with his video against bullying.

“Well, when I was younger I had eczema really bad, it’s a skin condition,” Garrett said at a press conference launching this year’s contest. “It was something I couldn’t control, so students would, you know, bully me over my skin. And it’s something you can’t hide, your skin, your face, your arms. So I felt bullying was close to me, ’cause I would go home at night and look at myself in the mirror and feel like I was such a bad person because I had this thing I couldn’t control.”

Garrett says he has seen positive change due to the contest.

“People that might have been bullies before have been like participating in this [contest]. So they’re like, ‘Oh, I see, okay, a lot of people don’t believe in bullying,’ and there are so many people against it, so many people trying to stop it, that they’re stopping.”

According to Kevin Truitt, associate superintendent of the San Francisco Unified School District, 34 percent of middle school students and 15 percent of high school students reported being bullied in the latest school district survey.

San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon
San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon

District Attorney George Gascon said that he could not offer any quantitative measurements to show the progress of the anti-bullying contest’s effects, but that “We know that in our partnership with the school district there was a lot of talk. Not only with the contest, but there was a lot of discussion.”

Among those co-sponsoring the video contest are local tech companies Zynga, Twitter and Facebook.

 

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