Acceptance, tolerance, and bullying: Facts and resources for parents

Feeling safe and included at school is fundamental for learning.

During the first week of December, SFUSD celebrates Inclusive Schools Week to bring more awareness to what being truly inclusive means.

Creating a safe environment at school

Here are some of the things our School Health Programs department does to help create safe schools:

  • Social workers, counselors, nurses, and other support staff address the social-emotional needs of students. 
  • Violence prevention lessons are taught as part of a comprehensive health education throughout the district. 
  • Mentoring programs are coordinated by district nurses and social workers. 
  • All students are encouraged to report incidences of bullying or other safety concerns to a trusted adult at school. 
  • Schoolwide events raise and sustain awareness about safety at all schools. 

How to talk to your child about bullying or feeling excluded

First of all, bullying is defined as unwanted, aggressive behavior done by someone who has real or perceived power over someone else. This behavior is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, over time.

Parents, school staff and other caring adults have a role to play in preventing bullying. You can:

  • Talk about what bullying is (see above) and how to stand up to it safely, such as finding a trusted adult and letting them know what happened.
  • Tell your child that bullying is unacceptable--it’s important to say it, even if you feel your child knows this. 
  • Talk with your child about all ways to get help if they see bullying. 

What about bullying online?

If you child is online, their chances of finding cyberbullies, haters and trolls is, sadly, quite high. Common Sense Media provides many useful suggestions for handling this. You will find guidelines, videos and articles to help with tough conversations.

What is tolerance?

We are a community that believes that each child and each person is the equal of every other. This belief cuts across race, nationality, immigration history, religion, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, economic means, ability status, language, and age.

When we talk about tolerance in schools, we mean that people should accept people for who they are and treat them how they wish to be treated. Tolerance is about being inclusive and welcoming, not about accepting bad behavior or allowing it to continue.

You can talk with your child about ways to be inclusive and tolerant, such as:

  • Inviting someone they don’t know well to sit with them at lunch 
  • Smiling at someone who seems shy 
  • Noticing things they have in common with other kids who may not look or dress like them 
Get some more suggestions, or work with your child to come up with other inventive ways to reach out to people. Even if their actions don’t spark a friendship, it’s still good practice toward being part of an inclusive school environment and society.

Download student-made Inclusive Schools Week posters