In response to national media coverage on bullying in schools, the San Mateo County Office of Education on Tuesday is kicking off a two-year anti-bullying initiative with a daylong series of free public forums.
The initiative, called "RESPECT 24/7," was spurred by a 2011 San Mateo County civil grand jury report that called on the office of education to spearhead an anti-bullying and civility campaign that would include all of the county's 23 school districts, office of education spokeswoman Nancy Magee said.
"Things that spurred the grand jury were events that were happening across the country, trends that they were seeing with online communication," Magee said.
RESPECT 24/7 aims to reduce incidents of bullying and engage students, families and communities in prioritizing respectful behavior in schools and in the community, Magee said.
"We really all have a responsibility to communicate respectfully online, in school, even in line at the grocery store," she said.
The campaign -- which is being organized by the office of education, Community Gatepath and the 17th District PTA -- is launching its countywide campaign with a morning forum featuring Linda Fogg Phillips, an author and expert on social media, Magee said.
Rep. Jackie Speier will address the forum via recorded video, and other speakers include county Supervisor Carole Groom, California Department of Education school health consultant Stephanie Papas, and education department office of civil rights attorney Kendra Fox-Davis.
The morning session begins at 9:30 a.m. and is being held at the Sobrato Center for Nonprofits, 330 Twin Dolphin Drive in Redwood Shores.
The public is also invited to attend an evening session aimed at parents, which will again feature social media expert Linda Fogg Phillips, Magee said. The evening forum will be held at the Bayside Performing Arts Center, 2025 Kehoe Ave., in San Mateo.
Future activities of the RESPECT 24/7 initiative include a student art competition and establishing a youth advisory committee that will help steer anti-bullying policies, Magee said.
— Bay City News