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School board OKs anti-bully project

Program is in response to Oct. 20 suicide

Posted: December 12, 2008 10:09 p.m.
Updated: December 13, 2008 4:55 a.m.
 

The Acton-Agua Dulce Unified School District unanimously approved the adoption of the anti-bullying program Project 51 Thursday.

"Project 51, at this point, is yet another service for our students," said Deborah Rocha, school board member, Friday.

Rocha called Project 51 a "comprehensive" program that looks at the nationwide problem of bullying and includes a parent component as well as mentoring aspects.

The program will be initiated at the high school level before it trickles down to the middle school level, she said.

Thursday's school district vote comes after the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors' decision on Tuesday to direct the Los Angeles County Education Coordinating Council to implement the plan in the Acton-Agua Dulce Unified School District.

Project 51 involves a toll-free number for kids or parents to use when they witness acts of bullying. Callers can leave a name and contact information of the school where the bullying occurred.

Project 51 officials will then ask the school to investigate the incident. If school officials do not launch an investigation within 24 hours, program officials visit school administrators to request an investigation.

While the vote means the program will be implemented districtwide, the specifications of the project will be left up to the administration, Rocha said.

Project 51 was initiated by Jeff Lasater, father of Jeremiah Lasater, a 14-year-old Vasquez High School freshman who shot and killed himself in the bathroom at the high school Oct. 20.

Lasater suspects bullying might have played a role in his son's suicide.

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