LAUSD Superintendent Cortines speaks out on bullying

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Recent suicides of gay teens after bullying at school has prompted L.A. Unified’s superintendent to devote his weekly television show to the issue of bullying.

Last month’s suicide of Rutgers University freshman Tyler Clementi after his roommate posted a gay encounter online prompted Superintendent Ramon Cortines to reach out to teens and their parents. "If he felt there was no other way of solving the problem other than jumping to his death, I have a responsibility to bring this to the attention of people," Cortines said.

A parent and two school district human relations specialists explained bullying on the superintendent’s TV show. Monroe High School Senior Nirav Prajapati talked about the way people have harassed him because he’s of Indian descent – and about the way he joined fellow students to turn his campus into an anti-bullying zone.

"Because bullying is not just being called names such as gay or fat, but it’s being bullied, being punked for what you wear and for who you are," Prajapati said. Now Prajapati says that he rarely hears people on campus use the word “gay” as a slur – and that fellow students hold each other accountable for belligerent behavior.

The segment on bullying airs five times this week on KLCS-TV.