Bullying and Violence at DVHS

This is the real video from Ann's attack. http://youtu.be/J1LvjJqEtLU
This is the real video from Ann's attack. http://youtu.be/J1LvjJqEtLU
About a month ago, my daughter Ann saw a 10th grader named Angie trying to get a 7th grader to smoke pot, right here in San Ramon. Being the moral child that she is, one with a strong value around protecting innocence, she intervened. I was proud- here was a girl making a positive difference in the world! 

Little did we know the nightmares awaiting us from that single act. 

Ann went about her business, but the other girl became fixed on a new enemy. Angelica started bullying her. Angie threatened her with violence and told her that she wasn't allowed to go to the local parks to play. She and her friends began spreading rumors about Ann, stole things from her at school (shoes, money, headphones). 

As a parent, I tried everything I could to end it. I spoke with Angie's mother- who was completely useless in solving anything. I coached Ann to avoid all these kids and not speak to them, not have eye contact- just to protect herself. I spoke with the school on several occasions about the bullying, especially as the threats of violence continued. No action was taken by the school no matter what this girl and her friend Malana did to Ann. 

Ann is not alone. Bullying and threats of violence are in every school and could affect any child. The effect of it is damaging. These kids don't feel safe. They don't want to go to school. The grades fall as the stress effects the ability to concentrate.

48 states have laws against bullying. Having laws and enforcing them are two different things. It is not just one or two crazy kids that make this happen either. It is well-documented that bullying usually happens with one or two aggressors and a whole bunch of bystanders who watch. 

Fast forward to today. Ann is walking home from school and is attacked. Pushed to the ground and punched- right here in San Ramon. A group of kids surrounded her, taking video and watching the assault. No one stopped it.  

My 15 year old girl- who is sweet and introverted and gentle- was beaten. While  her peers watched. When dozens of kids had talked about the fight all day, unbeknownst to Ann. 

Bullying must stop. And in order to make it stop, we the community must get involved. 

Please stand with me. Call the school. Call the police department. Make your voice heard that this community does not allow bullying. 
Kate B November 16, 2013 at 12:28 AM
Sabrina, that is my thought as well. All the kids that were there have parents who will have something to say about this. Enforcement of a better community, a better school starts at home.
Kate B November 16, 2013 at 12:42 AM
Dana Wellington- I am working to create some movement to that end. Its becoming a mission of sorts. Will you be willing to reach out to me and bring me up on what you know? I'd really appreciate it. kate.benediktsson@gmail.com
Gentry H. November 16, 2013 at 12:51 AM
Bullying is disgusting. These bullies need to be a) expelled, and b) given serious counseling and legal punishment, and I mean the girl beating her and those standing, videotaping, and egging her on. This is repulsive. I experienced severe bullying at LCMS just a few years ago (now a senior), and literally nothing was done about it by the admin (they were just as terrible as the bullies). Schools need to realize that this has a tremendous effect on the victims emotional state, and that bullying is incredibly difficult to get through. I want this Ann to know that she is not alone, that she is loved and supported, and will get through this. She will go much further in life than the bully. On another note, a child should never have to go outside or to school in fear of being harassed emotionally or physically. I hated going to school during my time at LCMS, and would cry every morning and afternoon. Bullying really takes a toll on the victim, especially when the perpetrators are not punished fairly. I urge the admin of DVHS to take action not only against these bullies, but all of the bullies at the school. I go to MVHS, and although I don't always see this, it is there. Bullying NEEDS to stop. Prayers for Ann and her recovery from this experience.
Kate B November 16, 2013 at 10:53 AM
James Spencer, it sounds like you will stand with me against bullying! I have said before and I'll say again- I do not expect kids to be perfect, only safe.
Sabrina Shaw November 16, 2013 at 11:27 AM
To all current students in San Ramon: Support each other and be a part of the solution. You are all equal. Different, but equal.
Call Me Mystified November 16, 2013 at 11:33 AM
Talk about shattering the myth of privilege. Drugs, bullying, violence, intolerance, ignorance… yes, they all exist and even thrive in the San Ramon Valley, and not just among our youth. As a whole, their parents, and adults in general, are no less guilty of the same poor behavior. It presents differently among adults, but is no less real. I’m not sure that we can ever end bullying, but that doesn’t mean that we should stop trying. Yes, there is a role for the schools here, but studies show that the family values are the strongest influence on how our teens develop their sense of right and wrong. Parents, regardless of whether you think that this is an issue for your children or not, consider using this as a teachable moment. This situation was not just the result of 2 people in conflict. Some have wondered where the victim’s friends where. I wonder where the aggressor’s friends were? Who among them had the vision, values and courage to suggest that a fight, what appears to be a publicly-staged criminal assault, was a bad idea? Count my vote for @JamesSpencer!
Gidget P November 16, 2013 at 11:40 AM
Honestly parents?! Where you there? Did you speak to BOTH GIRLS?! I think BOTH GIRLS need counseling! BOTH made CHOICES (poor ones!) and BOTH chose to rumble!!! Geez!! In the video, the girl 'Ann?' appears to be the underdog but is this because the other girl is just stronger physically, the way GOD made her? BOTH girls CHOSE this FIGHT so when you make comments like these, passing your judgement without knowing all the information, are you, yourself bullying?! Remember these are YOUNG girls! They need our love & support not another kick in the side! "That girl absolutely needs to be expelled and some time in Juvenile Hall." "Throw the book at the bully!" "Take the footage to the police. I'm heartsick for this girl, Ann. Press charges, get a restraining order!" " I am hoping the attacker gets the punishment due, and your daughter has the strength and courage to get passed this."
Gidget P November 16, 2013 at 11:46 AM
And Kate, how about YOU and YOUR daughter reach out to the other girl and her Mom and you sit down and make peace. Perhaps even unify as THE poster girls for anti-bullying in the Tri-Valley?!! They could be counseled and turn this nightmare into something positive by touring schools, showing this video and talking about how bullying is wrong, why you really shouldnt be doing it and what to do if it is happening!! That would be awesome!! I'll help!!
Sabrina Shaw November 16, 2013 at 11:51 AM
Mystified, it is a teachable moment. For kindness. Being kind to one another does not make one weak or less competive. In fact if a person can show kindness in moments like these, they are proving their strength beyond what so many adults can achieve.
Shailaja Dixit November 16, 2013 at 12:18 PM
Compassion for all involved and a a focus on peaceful resolution. Every story has two sides. Was talking to my elementary schooler today and we discussed how the bully and the victim are BOTH suffering, both need our help - neither should be shunned and removed and repelled. If there is indeed more here than meets the eye, I hope due investigation is being conducted and everyone gets a chance to present their view and we see the community come together. We cannot hope to teach our kids what we cannot model and portray in our own daily behaviors....tolerance, kindness, respect, compassion.......
H Stewart November 16, 2013 at 02:14 PM
Please be realistic: School districts, particularly the SRVUSD, are close to useless when it comes to preventing bullying and incessant teasing. This isn't because the school districts don't care, but because the strategies they implement to stop these horrible activities are useless. Therefore, students and parents have no choice but to depend upon the police and the courts, or to take matters into their own hands by developing alternative strategies that work. In the case of my own special needs child, rules were follow by our child saying, "Stop it" and telling teachers of various bullying incidents. Every time a teacher was told and the bully was questioned, the incidents became more clandestine and worse by several fold with the school and district doing nothing since the incidents were not observed. After several years of abuse our child discovered alternative strategies worked remarkably well, which includes having friends acting in a group to confront the other bully until the abuse is stopped, and risking a suspension by ending the problem in a way the school does not recommend. It is common knowledge that SRVUSD is not properly responsive (Note: This is different than the SRVSD not caring) to the needs of students who are bullied or have special needs, and it seemingly doesn't care about lawsuits that are filed against it. Therefore, I suggest students also look at alternative strategies to prevent abusive acts against them. I hope the parents in the recent incident file a civil suit against their daughter's attacker and/or her guardians, and insist upon criminal charges being filed. They should not expect DVHS to help in any way other than the letter the principal recently published. That letter shows concern, but is completely useless in preventing these senseless attacks.
Kate B November 16, 2013 at 04:23 PM
H Stewart you are on point. Thank you for your thoughts.
ZPR November 16, 2013 at 06:14 PM
the whole thing is sad, very sad...these two kids fighting, other kids watching and laughing, kids smoking weed, parents smoking weed, parents drinking alcohol on every occasion and then surprised that their kids get in trouble for DUI, broken families followed by teenagers who are sexually active and who can argue there is anything wrong with when we have all become numb to it...the point here is we as a society have gotten rid of virtues, morality, self control...everything has become acceptable...very unfortunate. But the problem starts at home and starts with parents and not these two teeneagers who are the product of their environment. a parent
Angie Fuller Smith November 16, 2013 at 08:45 PM
Senseless, unnecessary and disappointing. Students and parents need to stand together to help stop this problem. Theses bullies need to be stopped in elementary and middle school or they will continue to become a problem, cause unnecessary stress on children and families and ultimately become adults that continue to be a draw on society. Granted, there are not (yet) stories of schools shooting and gang rapes in SRVUSD, however this is how it starts. We become numb to the violence and then wonder "why" when there is a tragedy. Wake up teachers, administrators and parents, this does not need to happen. The world would be much better place if people just treated others with respect. It's that simple. Coming from a Law Enforcement background, if I was assigned to this case, I would go after the girl for assault, I would write a search warrant for the parents home and I would get to the bottom of this. Five years later, the parents and child would thank me for changing their lives before it was too late. For those who think this is just "kids being kids" I challenge you to tell me one senecio when beating another student while their piers watch on and cheer is acceptable. I'm open to hearing both sides so give it some thought. Lets not wait for another child to take their own life before we take action......theses children don't have the life experience yet to know that there is life beyond school and that one day these bullies will be asking you for a job!
CMNSENSE November 18, 2013 at 01:08 AM
H Stewart you are right on. They need to go after the parents, civil law suit...can't count on SRVUSD. Problem is the parents of the bullies, who need to be accountable for their children.
Amitesh Sinha November 18, 2013 at 05:07 PM
Being a parent of two, I find this video completely horrible. We need to protect our kids against any act of bullying. We also need to educate our kids that it is ok to intervene when someone is being unfairly treated. You also mentioned that you tried to work with the school, but they did not respond. School needs to held accountable for this act of brutality as well.
Ed Brown November 19, 2013 at 01:30 AM
Kate, as a parent I understand your pain in viewing this video, but as a former SRVUSD student I have first hand experience with these situations. I received plenty of what you would consider bullying while I was a student. I saw other fights as well. Based on what I see in this video, this is normal "kid" behavior. This is a high school kid fight. It's tough to see, but it happens. It should make your daughter stronger. She needs to continue to be strong and stand up for herself. That will make her a better person in the long run and those other losers will fade away. This is nothing new and in my opinion isn't over the top bullying. It's sad to see, but it makes us stronger. If this breaks us down, how can we handle the real world. It's way tougher than high school. Not what you want to hear, but it's reality.
Victor Campos November 19, 2013 at 02:24 AM
I respectfully disagree Ed. There's a big difference between a "fight" and bullying/intimidation. No one has that right to push people around who are smaller and have the courage to stand up for what they believe is right. I've been in plenty of fights over things, but I've also experienced having guns pointed at me and true attempts at intimidation. They are different! This was a beating not a fight and was unnecessary no matter what the cause. And kudos to Ann for standing up for something. How many parents reading this would WANT their 13 year old daughter to try pot given by a 16 year old?? What's next in that relationship? Cocaine? Pills? By the time she's 14 she could be strung out on drugs with this kind of "friend" in her life. Applause to the parents who care and understand what happened here and to all of you who think this is no big deal should WAKE UP!! I have a friend who is a firefighter and sees people strung out all the time, sometimes teens...It ain't pretty! Lives destroyed and sometimes ending in suicide! I know this is a liberal world but gimme a break, and this girl gets beaten for speaking up and protecting someone?? And now ridiculed publicly as if she was in a fight and we should have a conversation about who is at fault, sharing blame??? What is wrong with this society???? And mark my words, this girl who gave the beating will continue through her life this way until she is jailed or an administrator actually does their job for once instead of worrying about their football program. Lord knows if these were sports athletes they would be ALL over it and accountable! My heart goes out to you Kate!
Anonymous November 19, 2013 at 02:47 AM
This is not bullying. This is physical violence beyond normal bullying. As a student in SRVUSD, I can tell you that there is a differance. This event is incredibly sad and should not have happened. I do believe that the instigators of the fight should be expelled. I do believe that there was not enough action taken by a supervisor to prevent this. However, this is not the fault of the district. No matter how many ideas are preached to us students, our own self-defining ideas shall remain. If someone was planning on hurting this poor girl, nobody could have stopped it except for a police officer or another enforcement official. The district, as well as the school, is not at fault here. Also, it should be kept in mind that this fight took place in a public park. So not only could the district not prevent it, but the district is also incapable of stopping it during the act. Blaming Dougherty Valley High School is childish. Blaming SRVUSD is even worse. There is no higher power in this situation. If someone is going to point fingers, then direct it at the kids who were involved. We aren't ignorant and we are not unlearned. We all know bullying policies and, as I am shameful to say, they do not change anything. They are mere boundaries that some feel the need to test or overstep. I hope that the attackers get their due punishment and I do hope that this girl begins to feel better, but the mother is asking for drastic measures to be taken against things that really do not to be tampered with. The school and the district are not at fault and they should not be held accountable for an event that was 100% out of their jurisdiction to begin with.
Anonymous November 19, 2013 at 02:55 AM
Also, calling for bullying to be stopped is rediculous. I'd love for it to be possible, but it isn't. You can't tell a lion to be a mouse and actually expect it to miraculously become a mouse. Bullying is a lion, and it will always exist in the depths of human nature, no matter how much we all wish that it would cease to exist.
Kate B November 19, 2013 at 10:34 AM
I believe we can make a difference.
Gidget P November 19, 2013 at 11:57 AM
"Lord knows if these were sports athletes they would be ALL over it and accountable!" Baaaaaaaaaaaa!! Victor Campos- what world do you live in?!! Athletes would be 'accountable'? My own niece received EIGHT VARSITY LETTERS (two her freshmen year) and TWO MVP awards but guess who is the biggest fighter of all the kids in our family? The one that will jump in a rumble without hesitation? YEP! THAT ONE! OUR MOST DECORATED STUDENT ATHLETE! And what about the entitlement problem we are having with our athletes in this country? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2007_De_Anza_rape_investigation http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steubenville_High_School_rape_case http://www.kansascity.com/2013/10/12/4549775/nightmare-in-maryville-teens-sexual.html "the girls found themselves the girls found themselves among some of the school’s most popular student-athletes." and then they could barely walk the next morning. Sad Victor but THIS is reality!!
Barbara November 19, 2013 at 08:37 PM
Too all supporting this parent thank you for taking the. Wish we had more. Mom hang in you will prevail.
Sabrina Shaw November 19, 2013 at 10:36 PM
To Anonymous: Bullying absolutely can cease to exist. Going to school should be no different than going to a job. The kids simply need to be taught to respect and accept each other and to be KIND to one another. That kid over in the corner picking his noise who hasn't showered in a week? He deserves kindness. The kid who smokes pot? They deserve kindness. The shy kid? She deserves kindness. The kids who don't wear the most expensive and hottest clothes? THEY deserve kindness.
Anonymous November 20, 2013 at 01:10 AM
To Sabrina: You are backing my opinion. They do deserve kindness. But bullying cant be stopped. People have been bullying each other for all of recorded human history. They were bullying in your generation and they are bullying in mine. We have spent more time learning bullying policy and intolerance since we were in preschool. No amount of learning helps. It is a self-arrived decision that stops bullying for good. You cant force a bully to change.
Sarah November 20, 2013 at 03:13 AM
So I've been doing some asking around and it seems that the real story has not been told here. Let me start of by asking you Kate if your daughter Ann had won this fight and had beat the other girl like she was beat would you still have posted this video? Let me ask would you still be so ready to go to the news to make this bullying problem an issue? Would you be going to the school and the school district to have your own daughter ex spelled from school? Would you be working with the police to have your own daughter be brought up on charges for assault on the other girl? Or instead would you be saying that this was just a fight between friends? Would you still be so against bullying if you found out that it was your daughter who really caused this fight to happen? I have asked around and unlike you I will not name any names but a lot of the kids I have spoken to say that Ann had been talking bad to that girl for quite some time. In fact she had been messing with this girl for weeks passing messages to her other friends saying what she was going to do to this girl. I have also been told that Ann has smoked and does still in fact smoke weed when she can get away with it. Tell me have you drug tested your daughter yet? Or are you in complete denial? Tell me, I've been looking for the kid you say ann saved from doing drugs only no one knows who this kid is or who the "dealer" was that she stopped. In fact I can't find either child at all. Where are they? Did you talk to them or are you going completely on the story Ann gave you for the cause of this fight. I have also been told by someone close to ann that the fight was really over a boy that both girls liked and that Ann actually agreed to the fight before hand so she could show out in front of the boy who was actually standing there watching the fight at the time it happened and that Ann got embarrassed after she lost the fight. I was told that Ann is the one who picked the place to fight and that she wasn't attacked but that the reason why you don't see her book bag in the video is because someone was holding it for her. The problem is that over the last few days I've heard similar stories from a bunch of different kids. I've also been told that Ann is not your adopted daughter but that you only have temporary custody of her and that you have only really known Ann for a few months. I was also told who her real family was and I tried to talk to them. Imagine my surprise when I learned that you hadn't even told them about what happened to Ann. They wouldn't even speak to me. So I spoke to some of her other friends and heard that the reason why Ann decided to live with you instead of her own family is because you told Ann you would take her to disney Land twice a year. And friend of Ann's told me that Ann told her the reason she decided to live with you is because you told her that her family was too poor to take care of her and that if she stayed with you she would get what ever she wanted. It seems to me that there is so much more to this story. I went to her cousins job yesterday to talk to her about you and though she said nothing to me at all the look she gave me was one of deep anger and pain over what you did. Do you want to explain any of this at all? Or will you come up with some justification for your actions. The things I have been told were by really close friends of Ann's. Those she went to Cal High with and those who attend school with her right now. Tell me will you say that all these different people who don't really know each other but all have the same story about Ann are lying?
Local Yocal November 20, 2013 at 07:41 PM
YOU need to answer Ms. Sarah. Bullying? I think not. Where this fight took place both girls wanted it to happen. They live in opposite directions. BOTH got into this fight over a dude(rumor maybe). The sad part is that YOU has placed another stain on the black kids in this neighborhood and the stigma on those that live in the apartments. Good Job. Now look at how these and others will be perceived in the community. I say take you A** back the 880/580 neighborhoods or to Atlanta where if you want to live like Whores of Atlanta, Cece would welcome you. Otherwise raise your daughters to act like ladies proud and respectful of the sacrifices you are making to here. YOU people should stand out as the envy of your peers: Strong, proud being well educated living in an area that your grandparents could not conceive. No one bullied you to come here and no one will bully you to stay. I would ask that you will remember those that made sacrifices, by the stripes on their backs, by becoming "Strange Fruit", the Ruby Bridges for all of us to be here today. Amen!
CMNSENSE November 20, 2013 at 10:22 PM
Come on people, this blog makes our area look like a bunch of uneducated nimrods living in a ghetto...can't we all get along? This is beyond sad.
Marushi November 21, 2013 at 02:33 AM
Girls will be girls. It is important to see the lack of parenting here. Ann's mother clearly lacks skills as a parent to care for her own daughter by failing to contact the school when her daughter first encountered Angie smuggling cannabis to junior high school kids. As a proud, morally responsible resident of San Ramon, I am disturbed to see my fellow residents and mothers fail to teach their daughters to smoke cannabis at a young age. Smoking cannabis as a teenager allows children's brains to develop properly because the THC unfurls part of the brain that would otherwise remain dormant and subject to atrophy. In my very privileged opinion, Angie was simply beating some sense into that self-righteous and pretentious Ann! How dare Ann confiscate Angie's cannabis like that! Maybe the lesson learned here is that "everybody must get stoned", but I would like to think that we are seeing the true colors of the residents of San Ramon manifest through the actions of their thoroughly misguided youth.
Nancy Robison November 21, 2013 at 11:45 AM
Bullying is defined as an Imbalance of Power: Kids who bully use their power—such as physical strength, access to embarrassing information, or popularity—to control or harm others. Power imbalances can change over time and in different situations, even if they involve the same people. Repetition: Bullying behaviors happen more than once or have the potential to happen more than once. Whether this was a bullying situation or not, I'm not sure, but the behavior is unacceptable and should not be tolerated at home or at school. The schools can only do so much - it has to start at home. And Yes, there are drugs in San Ramon & Danville schools, if you think otherwise, you are mistaken. Bullying includes actions such as making threats, spreading rumors, attacking someone physically or verbally, and excluding someone from a group on purpose.


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