DHS is bully-free


Health teachers, like Ms. Santa Cruz, get serious about Anti-Bullying Week, and they give their students information on the issue from Sept. 19 to Sept. 23. Some students shared experiences about how bullying has affected their lives.

Marilyn Ramirez, Copy Editor/Co-Editor-in-Chief

A transformation took place at Downey High as students and staff took part in Anti-Bullying Week from Sept. 19 to 23 in efforts to get rid of incidents of abuse.

Daily announcements reminded students of the weeklong occasion with statistics of bullying and what to do when confronted by one. Posters were hung all around campus to support the event and shine some light on the cause. ASB member Jennifer Sicardi, 12, provided a PowerPoint for teachers as a reference to when they speak about this type of torment in their classes.

“We need the entire school informed on Anti-Bullying Week,” Sicardi stated. “It is too important to miss out on.”

Students like Sicardi are attempting to make Downey an oppression-free zone all around campus. Frank Billetta, 12, takes pride in his view that there is not much peer harassment occurring even though Downey has such a large student population.

“I’ve stopped a bully once, just by stepping in for the kid he was bothering,” Billetta said.  “People are more involved with themselves than to continue picking on other people.”

Others, however, believe that Downey is not as friendly as many may think. Although Joshua Guzman, 11, believes that there is not any persecution that can be seen physically, he keeps in mind that there are other forms of harassment that take place.

“Texting and Facebook are major ways that people get bullied through,” Guzman stated.  “I think the most unrecognized is from your friends because they may say they’re just messing around, but they don’t realize that sometimes, even if it’s just a joke, it can still hurt people.”

Like most, Guzman does his best not to be insensitive to others, such as putting them down, by keeping in mind what damage can ultimately be done.

His views reflect those of Vice Principal Ixchel Sanchez who takes any form of oppression very seriously.

“We want to make sure students can learn in a safe environment,” Sanchez said. “Everyone who is involved in bullying is held accountable. Even if someone is scared, he or she should speak up because it only takes one voice of reason to say, ‘Hey, just leave them alone.’”

Faculty and staff are notified at meetings to watch their students and never let an act of maltreatment go unnoticed. Many teachers require students to provide a parent’s e-mail, not just for school updates, but for those of their children as well. Some teachers even encourage students to view them as a source for help so that any evidence of harassment gets investigated.

Unfortunately, with the 4,200 plus students enrolled at Downey High, there are those kids that are not bullied, but instead are shunned. It is hard to join cliques that have been friends since middle school.

“Exclusion is, I think, a huge form of bullying,” Kimberly Ramirez, 11, said. “It isn’t hugely recognized because a lot of students don’t even know they’re doing it. Someone will look at someone and automatically judge them because they may look weird or act different, and they subconsciously shun them out.”

Kids are spotted throughout lunch sitting alone as giant cliques and groups stand by without even a glance to those they do not even know they are hurting. Luckily, students like Ramirez are trying to get these kids to notice and stop acting like bullies. She brings those out casted students together and they form their own group, continuing the cycle of including vagabonds.

77% of students have admitted to being a victim of some form of persecution. 56% of students have admitted to see harassment happen but did not do anything about it (Beane, 2005). These occurrences can stop immediately by increasing that other 44% who have done something about the bullies. The world does not appreciate those who think they can terrorize others and neither does Downey High; let students celebrate Anti-Bullying Week every week and keep the campus a safer place to be.