Paradise Valley Unified gives students more resources to report school bullying

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By Jennifer Thomas By Jennifer Thomas

PHOENIX -- Nisi Jara is a straight-shooting eighth-grader at Shea Middle School in Phoenix.

"Every place you go, there's going to be bullying so you can't say, 'Oh, no. It's a bully-free place,'" she said.

She knows that bullying plagues kids her age across the country, and she's driven to stop it as the leader of the Shea Kids Against Bullying in School or SKABS Club.

"All you have to do is if you see something, take a stand to it. Be like, 'Why would you do that?' or say no," she said. 

She wants to motivate kids to speak up by setting an example, and so does her school district. Several Paradise Valley Unified middle and elementary schools are starting their years with presentations from the Anti-Defamation League, helping remind students about what classifies as bullying and how important it is to tell someone when it's happening. One of the people willing to listen at Shea is School Resource Officer Erika Johnson.

"I think it's better to impact the new batch of kids with something like this so they're like, 'Wow, this school is really zero-tolerance for bullying and they really care about helping us understand it,'" she said.

She believes being open about bullying makes more kids willing to call it out when they see it. That makes for a better and safer learning environment.

As for Nisi, she hopes the seventh-graders taking in the presentation really pay attention, knowing the information could help them or someone else.

"That assembly might seem like just sitting there and being bored, but they might think of something that's going on and tie it in and they could make a difference just by themselves," she said.

For more on the anonymous bullying tip line, visit Paradise Valley Unified School District's home page.