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Ignore the bully, elementary students say

Students take a pledge to
Students take a pledge to "stand up and speak up against bullying" at Trinity Street School, a South Los Angeles elementary school.
Tami Abdollah / KPCC

Delmy Ruiz, 11, and Arturo Ruiz, 10, (no relation), are fifth graders at Trinity Street School in South Los Angeles. Both have been bullied before. Their response? Ignore the bully.

"One time, I was walking around, and there were these girls that were calling me names," Delmy said. "I just ignored them and I didn't listen to them, and I just walked away. They didn't come back."

Arturo shyly said he also follows the same policy. His two big brothers urge him to ignore bullies at school. Sometimes it works. Sometimes the kids come back and pick on him again.

"I see bullying everywhere," he said quietly. "...Just ignore them, or if it actually gets bad, then tell a responsbile adult."

Trinity Street School is an elementary school of about 500 students between the second and fifth grades located in South Los Angeles. About 98 percent of the students are Hispanic and 2 percent African American. The school is a Title I funded school with all of its students on the free and reduced lunch program, said school principal Marta Jevenois.

Jevenois said the school doesn't have many bullying incidents because it is so small. But when bullying does occur she works with teachers and students to determine what happened, she said.

"It's time consuming, all the investigation that goes with it," Jevenois said. "But, at the same time, it's essential, it's really important, and it must be done."

At an assembly this morning the school's students heard from LAPD officers and a public safety advocate about the dangers of bullying and how to deal with bullies.

"They learned to stand up for bullying, to say stop, no, it's not going to effect me, I'm moving on," Jevenois said.

As a fifth grader at Trinity, Delmy said she doesn't suffer much bullying, but when she moves on to middle school next year, that could change.

"I'm a little worried, because some people, they're probably going to say that we're the new kids, and we're little kids," Delmy said. "Right now, I'm not being bullied because I'm one of the oldest kids in my school. But when I'm in middle school, I'm going to be the youngest."

She said she would probably tell a counselor and her parents if that happened.

L.A. Unified has an online resource page for parents and students dealing with bullying. Jevenois said teachers at the school also talk to students about violence for 45 minutes twice a week as part of the district's Second Step program, which works to prevent violence on campuses and teach students how to deal with their emotions. She said the school is looking to get involved this year with P.A.L., the LAPD's youth-crime prevention program.

"People that bully other people, theyr'e just trying to make them feel bad because something is probably bothering them," Delmy said. "...Bullying is really wrong and it should be stopped."

Tami Abdollah can be reached via email and on Twitter (@latams).