Nonetheless, the high school's stance is two-pronged, explained Half Moon Bay High School Principal Mary Streshly.
The school must maintain a tough stance on bullying, and victims must learn resilience she
said, clarifying that this approach is difficult to maneuver because, "you never want to blame the victim."
"We must teach kids to stand up for friends, and we must help them learn to understand why something hurts their feelings," she
is troubled by the overarching nature of the term "bullying.
It can range from someone being called fat while walking down the hall or constant sexual harassment, she
Ultimately the term, "should be used to describe continuing behavior that makes someone feel unsafe," she
The recent buzz around bullying points to either an increase in the damaging behavior (perhaps amplified by new social media) or by a sharpened cultural awareness about it.
said this uncertainty is one of the hardest parts of the issue.
noted that after working at five schools in the last 17 years, Half Moon Bay High School
has the nicest group of kids.
doesn't think meanness is on the rise but that our society is increasingly putting its foot down about meanness.
The high school's protocol is to counsel the students who are impacted and investigate every complaint.
"You have to be OK that our (statistics) will increase as kids report it more.
said, adding that the more hands-on approach to reporting comes through in the school's higher recorded rates of bullying.
For the gay student who's suffered blow after blow from school bullies, he
feels disciplining the bully won't work but will only add more resentment.
Besides working with a school counselor, he
has found his
own ways of coping, including befriending popular girls so that their boyfriends will not hassle him.
"They say it's (getting) better, that there's a law, but it still happens," he
said, after returning to school last week following his
"They have these assemblies about bullying and harassment and people will sit and roll their eyes the whole time."
sees no solution unless, "you can capture babies and raise them differently."