O'Connell Offers Help For Schools, Families Dealing With Bullying
State Superintendent issues statement on death of Acton student.
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O’Connell
today released the following statement regarding the death of 14-year-old
Jeremiah Finton Lasater, who was found dead Monday morning of an apparent
self-inflicted gunshot wound at Vasquez
High School in Acton.
“I would like express my deep sorrow at the loss of Jeremiah and the tragic
circumstances that surround his death. All of us at the California Department
of Education send our heartfelt sympathies to Jeremiah’s family, teachers, and
friends during this most difficult time.
"While the details of his death have not been fully clarified, it has been
reported by fellow students that Jeremiah may have been the victim of bullying.
I sincerely hope this is not the case, but call upon all Californians to make
it clear that intentional intimidation and harassment is abhorrent and will not
be tolerated at any school, on any playground.
“California has just added a
tough, new law with stronger consequences aimed at combating bullying,
especially by those who use the Internet to harass and intimidate others. But
whether it is hurtful e-mails or abusive actions, we must protect those who
suffer at the hands of bullies.”
Signed into law last month, Assembly Bill 86 by Assembly
Member Ted Lieu defines bullying as “one or more acts by a pupil or a group of
pupils directed against another pupil that constitutes sexual harassment, hate
violence, or severe or pervasive intentional harassment, threats, or intimidation
that is disruptive, causes disorder, and invades the rights of others by
creating an intimidating or hostile educational environment, and includes acts
that are committed personally or by means of an electronic act, as defined.”
The measure also gives school officials grounds to suspend a
pupil or expel a student for bullying, including acts of electronic bullying.
For more information on the causes of bullying and what
school communities can do about it, please visit the CDE Web page: http://www.cde.ca.gov/ls/ss/se/bullyfaq.asp#schoolbullying