Lancaster | Not in Our Town


  Have you ever been in a situation where you wish you had spoken up to defend yourself? Have you ever stood by when someone else was being teased or bullied and wished you had said something? It happens to all of us, and though we should not feel bad or guilty about it, we can do things differently if we put our mind to it. The same is true for children. We tell students to speak up for themselves and to stop being bystanders when it comes to bullying, but we need to show them how and let them try it out. Try It Out is the new Not In Our School film for elementary students. In this film, middle school students help their elementary peers learn three ways to be an upstander. While being an upstander is never easy, roleplaying gives children a chance to practice and explore how it is done. 1. Intervene. We always tell children to intervene safely, meaning not to be aggressive, just firm when intervening and not to take unnecessary risks.
Lancaster, CA continues Not In Our School campaign into its 3rd year! The city of Lancaster, CA, where a segment of our PBS documentary Not In Our Town: Class Actions was filmed, is in their third year of a community-wide NIOS Campaign!  Students, teachers, and board members all participated in the Nov. 13 city council meeting to sign a proclamation against bullying in schools, according to the Antelope Valley Times. They signed banners renewing their pledge against bullying and promised to be upstanders whenever they see bullying occur. We are excited to watch the campaign’s continued success Lancaster!
This is the second year in a row that Lancaster's students, teachers and parents have celebrated the start of Bullying Prevention Month in their city. Dozens turned out to watch their mayor and city council sign a Not in Our Town proclamation declaring Lancaster's schools a safe zone from intolerance and hate. Check out the full story in The Antelope Valley Times. Just like last year, Mayor R. Rex Harris joined with local school district administrators to officially sign the proclamation that challenges local leaders and students to stand up to bullying in their schools. Here's the full proclamation: WHEREAS schools make substantial contributions to the future of America and to the development of our young people as responsible and productive citizens; and
This article, written by Dr. Becki Cohn-Vargas, originally appeared in the June/July 2012 California State PTA newsletter. Not In Our Town has partnered with CAPTA to work together to address bullying and intolerance in schools throughout California. Dr. Cohn-Vargas is the director of Not In Our School and an experienced educator. We hear a lot about bullying, but do we ever stop to really think about what it is and the consequences of bullying? After all, isn't just kids being kids, a part of growing up? Bullying is unwanted, aggressive behavior among school-aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. The behavior is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, over time. Both kids who are bullied and who bully among others may have serious, lasting problems. Bullying includes actions such as making threats, spreading rumors, attacking someone physically or verbally, and excluding someone from a group on purpose. Bullying can affect people in many ways. Some may lose sleep or feel sick. Students may want to skip school. Some may even be thinking about suicide.
"Our students have become activists, often times they don't have to tell on anyone for bullying, they just handle it themselves, they intervene themselves. You'll walk around this campus and you'll hear kids saying, 'Hey, not in our school.' It's our theme and they live it." —Lauri Massari, Del Sur Middle School counselor  Watch "Lauri Massari: How We Started Not In Our School" Learn how one middle school counselor created an anti-bullying program at her school and spread it to the entire community. This is a DVD extra from the PBS program, Not In Our Town: Class Actions. For more information on the film, visit
Talk About It. Your reactions to Not In Our Town: Class Actions.
On the edge of the Mojave Desert in California, educators, political leaders, and students face the dangers of bullying after teen suicides devastate two nearby towns. A local middle school counselor initiates an anti-bullying program throughout the district and students take the lead in standing up to hate in their community. This story is part of the Not In Our Town program, Class Actions, that premieres nationwide on PBS stations in February 2012. What began as one educator’s effort to create a safer environment for her middle school campus blossomed into a citywide movement. “We had two suicides that happened within 50 miles of our school and our town,” Del Sur School counselor Lauri Massasri says in Class Actions. “When something like this happens so close to your own community it's a wake-up call and you realize that this could happen to any one of us and we've got to do something a little bit more because apparently what we were doing isn’t working isn’t enough.”