<![CDATA[Stop Bullying System - Blog ]]>Thu, 28 Jan 2016 10:02:26 -0800Weebly<![CDATA[California Teachers Summit]]>Thu, 28 Jan 2016 16:54:37 GMThttp://www.stopbullyingsystem.com/blog/california-teachers-summitPicture
CA Teachers Summit

  Shakeel Ali, ASK Academy founder was invited to be a guest speaker at the Better Together: California Teachers Summit hosted by San Francisco State University! This  one day event was held at 33 locations across the state to share innovative strategies and build stronger teacher communities. It marked a historic day across the state of California. For teachers by teachers, the day was filled with sharing strategies for teaching Common Core and further developing strong teacher communities.Across the state, California teachers are driving innovation in the classroom and shaping our students’ futures. To support their critical work, a coalition of California colleges and universities invited teachers to come together to build powerful networks, share successful classroom practices and access effective resources to implement the California Standards, including the Common Core.

If you did not attend and would like to receive the 2015 California Teachers Summit Resource Handbook, visit http://www.cateacherssummit.com/resource-handbook.html

The New Teacher Center seeks to reduce the achievement gap in our nation’s schools by accelerating the effectiveness of new teachers and school leaders. NTC partners with school districts, policymakers and leaders in education to implement programs that build leadership capacity, enhance working conditions, improve teacher retention and transform schools into vibrant learning communities.

“He who opens a school door, closes a prison.”
Victor Hugo

Thank you teachers for caring, encouraging and making a difference in a young person’s life!

  1. California Teachers Summit, http://www.cateacherssummit.com/
  2. New Teacher Center (NTC), http://newteachercenter.org/

Xochitl Yaotl

<![CDATA[You are Amazing!]]>Mon, 28 Dec 2015 19:05:40 GMThttp://www.stopbullyingsystem.com/blog/you-are-amazingPicture

To our community partners…THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!
We are so thankful for your astounding involvement in the community. Your daily actions  make the world a better place!

With so many reports of senseless violence, there is a lot of fear. Parents are afraid to send their children to school and children are afraid to go to school.  Schools should be a place of learning not grieving.   Our work is possible because you care;  together we CAN make a difference.  With every dollar you invest, you make it possible for us to create “Bully Free Zones” in schools and communities. You are amazing!
On behalf of our youth, board and staff, thank you for your incredible support  and look forward to another amazing year.

ASK Youth Leader

<![CDATA[How Do You Facilitate Respect for All?]]>Mon, 30 Nov 2015 00:18:48 GMThttp://www.stopbullyingsystem.com/blog/how-do-you-facilitate-respect-for-allPicture
Together Against Bullying- United for Kindness, Acceptance and Inclusion
Sponsored by PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center since 2011

  “Be kinder than necessary, for everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle.”
–Ian Maclaren (aka John Watson)

National Bullying Prevention Month is a campaign initiated in 2006 by PACER's National Bullying Prevention Center and kicks off in the month of October. The purpose of this campaign is welcoming and uniting communities from around the United States; also educating and raising awareness about bullying.

Connect for Respect (C4R) is National PTA’s initiative to help students, parents and educators to create school climates full of safe and supportive peer relationships.

Research shows that one of the most effective ways to prevent bullying behavior is to create a positive school climate. School climate encompasses everything that contributes to a student's experience with a school—from the physical building to policies, staff and peer culture. Positive school climates exist in schools where students, families and educators all work collaboratively to build a culture of respect.

ASK Academy and the Stop Bullying System are a big part of the National Anti-Bullying Month through our Respect for All Campaigns in the San Francisco Bay Area. One of the campaigns we support is the Respect 24/7 Campaign, in San Mateo County.

ASK Academy helps schools, parents, businesses and community leaders create Respect for All Campaigns to educate and reduce bullying.  

ASK Academy assists in devising a plan to form a School/Community Climate and Safety Committee to reduce bullying and create a welcoming and healthy school and community environment. The Climate Safety Committee empowers youth leaders, schools and communities to educate and prevent bullying for the entire year.

Here are some ways communities get involved...

Business Professionals: Host an event for community families and youth to bring awareness and to educate them on how they can take part in bullying prevention.

Schools:  Host a Respect for All Assembly and then follow up classroom seminars and other school-wide activities throughout the year.

Parents:  Create family-school partnerships,  healthier school environments and better student outcomes.  This is accomplished through peace building seminars and at PTA/PTO monthly meetings.  

Dr. King’s philosophy of nonviolence is that “Nonviolence is a Way of Life for Courageous People”

Don’t be a bystander, get involved and make a difference!  Show you care about the students, your community and your school—become a powerful voice for change!

  1. United for Kindness; http://www.pacer.org/bullying/nbpm/unity-day.asp
  2. Connect for Respect: http://www.pta.org/C4R
  3. Unity Day: http://www.pacer.org/bullying/nbpm/unity-day.asp

Xochitl Yaotl

<![CDATA[Bullying in College]]>Tue, 20 Oct 2015 20:57:53 GMThttp://www.stopbullyingsystem.com/blog/bullying-in-collegePicture

Bullying in College

Even as kids reach adolescence, they need more than ever for us to watch over them. Adolescence is not about letting go. It's about hanging on during a very bumpy ride.
Ron Taffel

ASK Academy is widely known as an organization that helps teens stay safe and productive, however, we also work with young adults in schools and businesses.  The same principles apply whether child or adult.  Here’s the story of one of our mentors and a bullying situation addressed at a University:

“Today, a parent called to inquire on how the student could withdraw from the university.

I provided the instructions and as I was doing so, asked what the reasons were for withdrawing.   The parent said that it was because the student had been bullied all freshman year long by school peers. According to the parent, the peers had been pressuring the student into doing certain things and threatening if the student didn’t participate.  The parent started crying while sharing, because  is aware that bullying victims do take their lives when bullying becomes unbearable.  

The parent said that the student  hadn’t mentioned anything to anybody due to fear. It all came out one day when the parent saw that the student was really sad, the parent asked the student what was wrong and the student broke down in tears sharing the horrendous experience with bullying.

I asked the parent if the student had spoken to anybody on campus or if student had reached out to any of the available resources; student  had not because was too scared. I told the parent that the University offers many resources to deal with such matters and that student could have talked to any of them regarding the student’s safety.

The parent said that they had schedule an appointment for the student  to see a psychiatrist and will look into other universities close to home. Parent stated that they will reconsider sending the student  back to University but is leaning more towards withdrawing.

I provided the parent with the contact number for all University resources .”

By Tonalnan Yaotl

<![CDATA[INTERNATIONAL DAY OF PEACE]]>Tue, 22 Sep 2015 16:40:01 GMThttp://www.stopbullyingsystem.com/blog/international-day-of-peace
"Over the next 100 days, let us stand with the millions of people across the world who are suffering the devastating impact of violence and conflict. Let us share ideas and plans for helping and supporting them in their time of dire need."

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

Each year the International Day of Peace is observed around the world on the  21st of September. The General Assembly has declared that this day is devoted to strengthening the ideals of peace, both within and among all nations and peoples.

The theme of this year’s commemoration is “Partnerships for Peace – Dignity for All” which aims to highlight the importance of all segments of society to work together to strive for peace. Differences should be celebrated and loved during this time.

The International Day of Peace was established in 1981 by resolution 36/67 of the United Nations General Assembly to coincide with its opening session, which was held annually on the third Tuesday of September. The first Peace Day was observed in September 1982.

         In 2001, the General Assembly by unanimous vote adopted resolution 55/282, which established 21st of September as an annual day of non-violence and cease-fire.

The United Nations invites all nations and people to honour a cessation of hostilities during the Day, and to otherwise commemorate the Day through education and public awareness on issues related to peace.

In 2015 Unity Foundation will produce the 7th Annual Peace Day Global Broadcast Celebrating the UN International Day of Peace. The broadcast, which streams live from the United Nations  will also commemorate the 70th Anniversary of the Founding of the  United Nations. The Peace Day Global Broadcasts promote the vitally important work of the United Nations, its humanitarian agencies and organizations throughout the world working for peace, the environment, human rights, and social and economic justice. Each year the broadcasts give special focus to the achievement of the UN Millennium Development Goals. A Preview of the 2015 Peace Day Global Broadcast can be viewed at www.unityfoundation.org  The broadcast will be presented from September 19th to September 21st.       

The 2015 Peace Day Global Broadcast will feature a number of special presentations during the program including: The UN 70th Anniversary Celebration in San Francisco with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, the Dalai Lama's 80th Birthday Celebration and Global Compassion Summit, the presentation of the Harvey Milk Human Rights Award to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Ringo Starr's 75th Birthday and Peace & Love Celebration, and the San Diego Youth Orchestra's concert in Beijing, China.

The broadcast features celebrations, concerts, parades, and cultural and educational presentations. There are also special messages of peace from celebrities and humanitarians including: Michael Douglas, Dr. Jane Goodall, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Joe Walsh, Tavis Smiley, Marianne Williamson, Dolores Huerta, Ed Asner, Rosanne Barr, Edward James Olmos, Diane Ladd, Peter Coyote, Michelle Phillips, Soccer Star Tony Sennah, and Three Time Olympian Marilyn King. Through a special arrangement with Black Entertainment Television (BET) and Sunseeker Media the 2015 broadcast will feature Stevie Wonder's "Message of Peace: A United Nations Day Concert" featuring Stevie Wonder, Sting, Wyclef Jean, Jonelle Monae, the Preservation Hall Jazz Band and other prominent musicians.   United Nations- http://www.un.org/en/events/peaceday/

                          Xochitl Yaotl

<![CDATA[Westmoor Student Presents “In Our Own Words” Seminar at College of San Mateo]]>Mon, 23 Feb 2015 19:04:02 GMThttp://www.stopbullyingsystem.com/blog/westmoor-student-presents-in-our-own-words-seminar-at-college-of-san-mateoPicture

This February, Youth Leader and Facilitator Cyndi Guerrero facilitated a dynamic workshop, at the San Mateo County Youth Conference, entitled “In Our Own Words (Building Peace and Preventing Bullying).”  Cyndi is a Youth Leader of ASK Academy. As a youth leader she is trained in peer mediation, leadership skills and facilitation.

Our group was chosen to present because the overall goal of the "In Our Own Words" youth led project is decreasing bullying in the partner schools and promoting a healthy and safe school environment and community.  The review panel was extremely impressed with the students’ work and invited them to talk more about the program. Through this program, ASK Academy is advancing the leadership capacity of local students, developing conflict resolution skills, anti-bullying strategies, and ongoing support.  The youth are keeping the community safe through group or individual peer to peer assistance.

This annual event, held at the College of San Mateo (CSM), is sponsored by Star Vista, County of San mateo, and the San Mateo County Youth Commission.  Cyndi introduced the youth led project  “In Our Own Words” and its purpose, creating “Bully Free Zones” in schools and communities.  She also mentioned that the Stop Bullying System founder, Shakeel Ali, President of the Governing Board of Education, Jefferson Elementary School District, was present in the room.   Next Cyndi shared how she, as one of the youth leaders, collaborated in the writing of the grant proposal to State Farm for the “In Our Own Words” project. She  participated through  the entire process of creating the PSAs during the fall semester.

Cyndi  talked about the generous support of some of the funders and partners, such as the Mills Peninsula Community Grant, Nintendo Foundation, State Farm, the African American Community Health Advisory Committee, Jefferson Union High School District and the Pacifica School District.  She then showed the PSA’s  and led a question and answer session. The reaction and response from the audience was…. a thunderous round of applause!

Some of the questions she asked were….

What type of bullying was going on in each PSA?

What other options did the main characters have?

What could they have done to get help?

Have any of you ever experienced any sort of bullying?

All hands went up in the room, youth and adults alike. Some of them shared their experiences with bullying. One participant said that he had been bullied for a long time but couldn’t do anything to stop it because he was out-numbered, 10 to 1.  Some of the attendees asked Cyndi advice on how to go about  helping to stop  bullying in their schools. She advised them that they can start their own “In Our Own Words” youth led anti-bullying campaign by having ASK Academy help them form a Climate Committee. 

Some of the comments were…

“Thank you! The PSA’s were informative and inspiring”

“Thank you, that was great!”

Thank you for the popcorn and the candy”

Since the theme of the conference was “Embracing who you are and celebrating how that unites us all!”, Cyndi ended by saying  “we are all entitled to our own opinions but no one should be bullied for being different. Our imperfections and unique qualities should bring us together and should be embraced by all. We all need to learn how to become allies instead of bystanders.”  All of the participants said The popcorn and candy that she gave the attendees were a hit!   To continue the conversation and strategizing, there will be a Follow up discussion on Bully Free Radio coming soon...

<![CDATA[ASK Academy “In Our Own Words” in Running to Receive $10,000 from KIND]]>Mon, 19 Jan 2015 01:44:15 GMThttp://www.stopbullyingsystem.com/blog/ask-academy-in-our-own-words-in-running-to-receive-10000-from-kindPicture
What wisdom can you find that is greater than kindness?”—Jean Jacques Rousseau  

Local residents can vote to help  ASK Academy “In Our Own Words” youth led project decrease bullying in the partner schools and promote a healthy and safe school environment and community.  Promoting the leadership capacity of local youth to develop conflict resolution skills, anti-bullying strategies and ongoing support through group or individual peer to peer assistance to youth.

Bay Area-based ASK Academy supports a youth-led anti-bullying campaign:  “In Our Own Words” and peer support services to address and create a culture of peace and nonviolence in the Jefferson Union High School District.  “In Our Own Words” is in the running to receive $10,000 from KIND Healthy Snack, and they’re now asking area residents for their support.

Community members can visit: http://causes.kindsnacks.com/cause/in-our-own-words/ to place a vote for “In Our Own Words.”  The effort comes as part of KIND Causes, a monthly grant program that celebrates people spreading kindness in their communities.

Students said that bullying is a top issue in their school, with cyber bullying and bullying related to race or ethnicity as the most common. When asked “Is bullying directed at one particular group due to race, gender or appearance?” One responded “people who don’t speak English too good.”

Local data indicates disparate rates of bullying among populations of color, with African Americans experiencing the highest rate of bullying at 48.2%, followed by Pacific Islanders at 36.4%. (kidsdata.org).

Receiving $10K from KIND would help support our efforts addressing cyber bullying and bullying related to race or ethnicity

Voting is live through the end of the month. The cause that attracts the most support will receive the funding, and the KIND team will then rally to help them increase their impact. Through voting, people are also committing to carrying out a kind act in their own life – all in the spirit of paying it forward!

“Over the years, through ASK Academy, Shakeel Ali  has committed  his life to making the lives of our youth better in San Francisco and San Mateo Counties by providing mentoring and showing kids the value of multimedia technology in a classroom setting.” - City Councilman

“Your trainings are SO important, we NEED to have to have you come to our school at the beginning of the year so we can implement the services throughout the entire year.” – Teacher

There are a number of inspiring causes participating, so support from the local community is key to ASK Academy “In Our Own Words” receiving the funding.

 For more information, contact askacademy.org@gmail.com.

<![CDATA[Put Ups vs. Put Downs]]>Wed, 03 Dec 2014 23:30:32 GMThttp://www.stopbullyingsystem.com/blog/put-ups-vs-put-downsPicture

It was one of those days I was a substitute teacher, taking a class at a school and I was quite taken aback by an incident that happened in the school. As it turned out, it was not a very pleasant experience. A young student approached me and shared her experience regarding bullying that had disturbed her.

As it happened, one of her classmates was bullying another student during the recess. She told me that the one bullied asked her if it was wrong that he was born and that one of the students stated that ‘he should have never been born’.

In order to understand the situation better, I tried to discuss the same with the other students. The one accused of bullying informed me that, “Yes, I was mean to him, because he said mean things to me.”  “He said I think I’m cool but I’m not, and that I play with my hair too much, and I am a girl”. I then talked to the other boys to get the complete picture. As I suspected, both of them had said mean things to each other, trying to Put-down one another and that there were other boys involved in the incident, but some reason the boy named only one. I learned that this back and forth behavior has been going on for almost a year.

The full-time teacher for whom I was substituting had earlier briefed me about the inappropriate and conflicting nature of the conversation amongst boys who seems to be friends. She told me that such incidents start off as fun but many of them escalates into fights. Since I was to substitute her for the day, she had allotted time toward the end of the day for me to conduct a classroom seminar on “Strategies and Alternatives to bullying each other in class and on the yard”. I suggested to her that, I could do an Appreciation Circle activity around Put-Ups vs. Put-Downs.  I told her about my experiences growing up and being in “capping” sessions, where my peers and I would take turns to verbally attack each other.  A lot of times these sessions would turn into serious fights.

I had the whole class divide into groups of four and take turns giving each other put-ups.  They had to find something nice, or encouraging to say about each other and get used to the way they felt giving the put-up and receiving the put-up.  

Appreciation circle turned out to have a positive influence on the students. Not only they were looking for something appreciable in others, but also more importantly they were learning to look at the ‘Glass half full rather than half empty’. This is one small focused measure ASK Academy takes that helps our students to find ways to build peace among peers on a daily basis and to ignore confrontations that lead to nowhere.

What are some strategies that you utilize for addressing school-yard or classroom bullying?

<![CDATA[Truth Or Dare]]>Thu, 13 Nov 2014 22:24:13 GMThttp://www.stopbullyingsystem.com/blog/truth-or-dareTruth or Dare”, a game that exudes mixed emotions in most of us, primarily because a lot of the associated memories get reflected from our childhood. Not withstanding the fact that this memory recall is always refreshing but we also have to keep in mind the shame and embarrassment it brings to some of us. Even though the game is meant to be fun to challenge a dare to our friends and watch them face awkward situations, most of us know when to STOP and are aware about the Do’s and Don’ts and acknowledge the need to maintain rationality in our action. But sometimes we do cross the line into making it a psychological trauma for some. I am sure a lot of people can relate to it and have been on both the sides of the game, having said that, the main reason I am writing this blog is to debate whether we should have a systematic approach to handle the substantial effects of the game, or should we just sit back without even giving it a second thought and let it rest back as a haunted memory.


It must have been a week ago when I was working as a substitute teacher for 6th grade students. The school counselor entered and much to my surprise the counselor was there to talk about the game “Truth or Dare”. A fad of this game started at the beginning of the school year and apparently some students were bullied and out casted for not doing a dare. The frustration, and hurt associated with this game is not realized seriously as it should be. The students assume that it is fun to embarrass each other but it is hurtful to some who do not end up enjoying it. One word that instantly crosses my mind is “Bullying”. Some may not agree with that or may even put it in the category of peer-pressure but wherever purposeful action that causes pain and trauma comes, it automatically puts it in the same basket. The main motive of games is to create a healthy environment of fun and laughter and not stress or tension.

The school counselor currently is following up with Stop Bullying System and ASK Academy to create a ‘Respect For All Assembly’ this November. We have also suggested conducting follow up workshops in the classrooms to spread awareness about Do’s and Don’ts of this game and how forcing someone to take up a dare can lead to psychological bullying. We are working on tackling this situation differently than we would with the high school students. At this age, differentiation between right and wrong tends to be hazy, as there is no focused guidance available. Therefore, let us all be proactive and encourage schools and universities to create a Bully-free atmosphere and help us promote our sole mantra - STOP BULLYING!

<![CDATA[National Bullying Prevention Month and Respect For All]]>Wed, 15 Oct 2014 22:26:47 GMThttp://www.stopbullyingsystem.com/blog/national-bullying-prevention-month-and-respect-for-allPicture

“A lot of people are afraid to tell the truth, to say no. That’s where toughness comes into play. Toughness is not being a bully. It’s having backbone.”

-Robert Kiyosaki

National Bullying Prevention Month is a campaign initiated in 2006 by PACER's National Bullying Prevention Center and kicks off in the month of October. The purpose of this campaign is welcoming and uniting communities from around the United States; also educating and raising awareness about bullying. The event started off as a weeklong event and it has now grown into a month-long event. The event was expanded in 2010 to include activities, education, and awareness building for the entire month. Schools and various organizations across the country have signed up as partner for this event. This includes multinationals and media giants like Facebook, CNN and Yahoo!   1

Ask Academy and the Stop Bullying System are a big part of National Anti-Bullying Month through our
  Respect For All Campaigns in The San Francisco Bay Area.  For instance, we support  the Respect 24/7 Campaign in San Mateo County.  Some of the Pacifica schools involved are:

*Oceana High School.

* Ingrid B. Lacy Middle School.

*Vallemar School.

At these schools’ students help create Respect For All Campaigns which begin with a Respect For All Assembly and then follow up classroom seminars and other school-wide activities throughout the year.

Focusing on Bullying Prevention during the month of October was conceived in response to the need to raise awareness of bullying. Historically perceived as a stepping stone to adulthood or creativity of adolescence, bullying in school among kids as we know it has devastating effects on these youngsters and has a long lasting effect on their personalities. The need to counter this brought PACER in tune with communities through partnerships with education based organizations such as National PTA, American Federation of Teachers and National Education Association to engage schools, parents and students with platform and resources to respond and counter to bullying behavior and to kick-start the societal acceptance of bullying to social change of addressing the issue through education and support.1

The sole motive of this event is to engage people and to spread awareness about the menace that we have come to know as BULLYING. Bullying is nothing but the use of force, threat, or intimidation to achieve domination over others.  Such behavior is often asserted on others by the means of verbal abuse, physical assault or coercion. This pattern of behavior often turns habitual and repetitive. To make matters worse, such behavior in most of the situation gets socially accepted and treated as a sign of aggression and leadership, making it even more difficult for the abused to counter it or stand their ground.  Some of the serious results of bullying can be depression, lack of school attendance and even death.

With intentions in mind to spread awareness, National Bullying Prevention Month tries to achieve this through events, engagements and activities. They create initiatives with their affiliated partners to address this. This year, PACER’s UNITY DAY will take place on Wednesday, October 22, the day when everyone is encouraged to come together and wear orange to send a message of support, hope and unity against Bullying. 2 The notion of being actively engaged and participation will help create an environment of non-acceptability of Bullying and support for those who are affected by this.  At the end of the day, there is no better means of spreading awareness than engaging people and educating them practically.

Another talking point of the initiative is the partner events. Partners like Facebook, Disney and CNN have outreach to the people that far out-numbers PACER or any social cause for that matter. Utilizing these partner channels is a major break-through for such event given the potential size of the target audience.

“Choose Kindness” is part of Disney ABC Television Group’s effort in creating a bullying prevention campaign, a great channel to target young kids and parents in educating them about Bullying before they even encounter it. 3

Different partner agencies are conducting and holding events like “run, walk and roll against Bullying” to gain the attention of the adults towards bullying. Support and nurture from adults is something that younger generations seek to overcome Bullying.

The Stop Bullying System is continuing Respect For All Campaigns and the In Our Own Words Project this October in Pacifica and Daly City Schools.

In essence, PACER with National Bullying Prevention Month jumps in to create a platform where people can unite, combine and focus their efforts in normalizing the menace of Bullying. It is a program that is meant to anti-socialize the acceptance of Bullying. Likewise, with the Respect For All Campaign, youth and adults work together to make sure everyone feels safe and welcome.  At the end of the day, like any other relief effort, ends can only meet when the knots are tied at the right places.


1.     History


2.     Unity Day


3.     Choose Kindness