Category Archives: bullying

Ask Naya: Advice on Relationship and Etiquette — Are Freshmen Fresh?

naya photo

Dear Naya:

“Today, a pesky  freshman was hassling me, calling me B@!%$ and generally hassling me. What can I do to stop this?”



Dear RG,

Oh, those ignorant freshmen!!! Unfortunately, they haven’t realized that high school is basically four years of hell in disguise.

They need to learn the way.  They need to be taught how to solve their inner issues: i.e. if a freshman girl (person A) were to bump into another girl (person B) whilst walking by, you (person B) shouldn’t just immediately square up with person A; you have to talk it out with them.  You need to be the more mature person and temporarily back away from the situation to try to lose that disconcertion you get from that initial shock of extreme rudeness… then go back again and talk it out with that person.

My advice about the foul-mouthed freshman: try to forgive and forget.  When I say forgive and forget, I mean to leave the  things that are trivial in the long-run behind and make a new road for yourself.

You can’t change the game, but you can always change your ways to conform to the game by doing the best thing.

2 Chainz aka No Chainz


by Jacob Miles

Famous hip hop rapper 2 Chainz was robbed at gunpoint in San Francisco last Sunday afternoon, according to police.

Billboard Magazine, citing police reports, said that the rapper, born Tauheed Epps, was walking with five members of his entourage in downtown San Francisco before a performance at the summer jam concert in Oakland. Three men, one with a gun, approached the group.

One shot was fired, and the gunmen reportedly made off with Epps’ wallet and cellphone, fleeing in a gray sedan.

On Twitter, Chainz seems to be denying that much of an incident took place, saying, “Rule #1 if a rapper gets robbed people usually post items that has been taken. Rings, chains, watch, money etc. 2 answer that question…Rule#2 if a rapper gets shot he usually go to hospital or dies.”

The stories buzzed the night it happened and some fans feel mad that he was robbed in the Bay.

“My first reaction was to laugh.  It was so surprising and sad— but at least it didn’t happen in Oakland,” said sophomore Kardel Howard.

According to reports, as officers responded to the call, the rapper told the police that he would handle the situation himself. His entourage was seen fleeing the scene -all of which was caught on camera.

Sources say his friends “ran away from the incident like cockroaches running from a flashlight.”

One Instagram user and apparent blood gang member posted an image to his account with the caption:

“2 Chainz got his cornball a** stripped in the city.”

Why Mack Students Should Care about LGBT

macksmackLGBTby Janaya Andrews

Sometimes justice trumps love. Take Valentine’s Day. I spent it lobbying in Sacramento for equal rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

I was one of seven McClymonds students who joined 3,000 students in Sacramento  in a forum about LGBT rights at the 65th Model Legislature and Court of California YMCA Youth and Government.

While in Sacramento, I wrote a bill to promote acceptance of gays, bisexuals, the transgendered, and lesbians. I felt that it was time to support the LGBT, not only because I am standing up for what’s right, but also for truth and justice.

“People shouldn’t be afraid to be what they were born with,” said Shamorra Washington, a freshman. “It’s not like it’s a switch that people could simply flip to change their whole being.  Why should they?”

Our group focused on notable LGBT people from President James Buchanan (our 15th president who was gay but closeted) and  Laura Jane Grace, born Thomas James Gabel, lead singer of punk band Against Me! (transgender who has since switched genders and married).

In my group, we had a guest speaker come talk about her experiences, and she shared a personal story with us about feeling out of sorts. It was in college that that she realized she was transgender. Her upbringing in an accepting family made her less afraid of coming out.

A 2012 survey by the Human Rights Campaign of 10,000 LGBT youth aged 13-17 found that while almost all (91 percent) of LGBT teens are out to their close friends, fewer are out in school (61 percent) and out to their families (56 percent).

Those who were out at school and out to their families reported higher levels of happiness than those who weren’t.

“We are all human, so why treat each other with less respect,” said Washington.  “If you want to be seen and heard, you have to set your feelings free.

As Dorothy Parker so eloquently said, “Heterosexuality is not normal, it’s just common.”  She forgot to add it is natural.

And Jean Genet said, “I like the word gay, though I think of myself as queer. I believe the strength in my work comes from that perspective -my being an outsider”.

And I have internalized what these two famous writers said: nobody should be afraid of being gay, just be who you are and love it. Now is the time to act to support LGBT youth.

In and Out of Shadows: A Play About Undocumented Youth Hits Home

Felix and his momHomero Rosas plays Juan Two

by Romanalyn Inocencio

Watching In and Out of Shadows at the Marsh Theater in San Francisco was like sitting in my living room listening to my Mom. The Filipina mother in the story threatened like my mother, giving you a choice of what household instrument you can get hit with.

It hit home because I’m Filipina and these life stories — focused on fears about the police, stress over grades and college — reflect the anxieties of my undocumented cousins and friends.

Some significant details are different of course. The stories of crossing the border into the United States from Mexico, when one kid had to be drugged because he could not learn his fake name,and another had to crawl through the sewers, are harrowing.

The musical builds on a familiar theme: college application.  In it, the undocumented teens are preparing their personal statements for an AB 540 conference at UC Berkeley (AB 540 allows DREAMers to attend California colleges at in-state rates).

 We meet Angel, who arrived in the US alone via a sewer when he was 13. And Juan who, as a determined six-year-old, had to be drugged with cough syrup during the crossing because he adamantly refused to take his cousin’s name as his own. We watch a newly urbanized “vato loco” (crazy dude in Spanish) teaching an undocumented Chinese friend how to speak street Spanish.

Running through the entire musical is the fear of deportation. Many families in the  play  have deceptive status – undocumented parents who lie to their children about their papers (often telling their children they have papers, when they don’t)  and who live in constant fear of separation.

Even under AB 540 or President Obama’s recent two-year deportation deferral program for certain undocumented youth, students who get to stay may suddenly be left alone with nobody to take care of them. The diverse group of young actors, many whom are directly affected by the issue, mix English, Spanish, Tagalog and other languages as they examine the unwieldy human effects of this messy political issue.

Trying REAL HARD to Encourage Respect at Mack


Photo by Janaya Andrews

By Janaya Andrews

A freshman curses out loud in front of a math teacher in the hallway. An athlete interrupts another student, saying “Just shut up.”

These incidents inspired a core of students participating in REAL HARD at McClymonds to hand out wrist bands last week and encourage students to speak up, listen and respect each other.

The sky blue wrist bands proclaimed  “Honor My Space” while forest green ones spelled out “Speak Up.” About 40 percent of students participated in activities centered around   learning to take turns expressing opinions and acting in positive ways toward one another.

“It’s a way to tell the world that you want to be heard, that you will stand up for what you believe,” said Randall Coleman, 16, a junior.

REAL HARD is an after-school leadership training program that meets twice a week for a two-hour session. In addition to the program at McClymonds, REAL HARD (run by Oakland Kids First) has programs at Oakland Tech,Oakland High, Street Academy, Fremont, Castlemont and Skyline. In the past, REAL HARD has tackled issues such as bullying and classroom etiquette. Participants are paid a stipend of $350. 

“We amplify the school culture and promote respect in how we treat one another,” says Krish de Leon, REAL HARD program coordinator, who leads the group at McClymonds. “We work with students and teachers to create an environment of learning and free expression.”

Shamorra Washington, 16, dangled her plastic wristband after admitting to sometimes getting emotional in her discussions with fellow students. “I know there is a way to be more respectful and I want to be heard and respected, too.”

Even students who did not participate in the REAL HARD action said they felt that promoting respect at McClymonds was worthwhile. “It’s a positive step,” said Deshawn Nelson, 16. “I like the idea of speaking my mind, being part of the community, being heard and yes, listening to others.”

Did Watching Bully Have An Impact at Mack?

Oakland school kids prepare to head into Jack London Cinema to view "Bully."

photo copyright in Oakland North by Pendarvis Harshaw

By Anthony Beron

Remember September, when your entire school was sent to the Jack London Cinema to watch “Bully”?

Well, over 12,000 fellow students throughout OUSD saw the same movie, recalling it as a “tear-jerking,” “deeply emotional” documentary.  But was it legitimate?

What I mean by this is whether if it was effective (or not) to the common school bully.  Do you recall your school giving you a follow-up lecture or survey? Did you notice an immediate change in the bullies at your school?

Semi-effective was how Selena Williams, a 17-year-old  junior labelled the movie.  “It opened people to a new perspective on how it can affect others’ lives,” she said.  “On the other hand, some people still don’t care.  They go and bully anyway.”

At McClymonds, students and teachers said that the movie did work, based on their personal observations of behavior at school; however, over 37% of people surveyed said that it did not work.

Barbara McClung, coordinator of Behavioral Health Initiatives, said that the cost was covered by a group of anonymous donors through the film’s director Lee Hirsch. That included movie tickets for all of the students and staffers who viewed the film as well as the cost of transportation to the theater and back to their school site.

One major flaw with the movie was that it was not “culturally diverse enough,” and “did not provide an outlet” to bullying, according to Kharyshi Wiginton, an after-school staff member.  Another anonymous student stated that it was “not effective,” and that there is still a lot of homophobia and other forms of bullying prevalent in Oakland schools.

Accomplishment #
Students who saw the movie 12,016
Staff who saw the movie 629
Buses hired to transport students and staff 295
Fights 0
Students who went missing 0
Disciplinary Incidents 1 (9th grader referred for marijuana use)
Central Office Volunteer Ushers 108
The showing coincided with changes in the anti-bullying laws that went into effect in July 2012 and require that schools have a clear process for documenting incidents of bullying and for investigating and responding.
“We developed protocols for OUSD schools, launched training for all principals, and are following up with anti-bullying programs in many of our schools. We are also creating alternatives to suspension for students who have bullied including counseling, behavioral intervention, and when appropriate, restorative justice practices.”
There will be an increased focus on bullying in OUSD. Programs that will be implemented include PBIS – Positive Behavioral Intervention and Support, Restorative Justice, Social-Emotional Learning, Peer Conflict Mediation.
“We have also launched a suicide prevention campaign to support students who have been victimized by bullying and others who are at risk due to circumstances beyond their control,” stated McClung.
Bullying occurs across all cultures and genders within OUSD, she said.
According to McClung, African-American males may be suspended more than other students for bullying in OUSD due to the inequity in how schools have been applying discipline practices leading to alternatives to suspension.
“We also do not believe that suspensions teach students the skills needed to change behavior. Counseling, skills groups, restorative dialogue, behavior support plans, and social-emotional learning are practices that help to change behavior,” said McClung.

Warrior Gets A Facelift

photo by Sana Saeed

by Sana Saeed

Have you seen the really big tall warrior mural in the McClymonds gym?

The artistic facelift of the gym began when art teacher Rosemary Marr sauntered into the gym in September and commented  that it looked “oh so plain.” The school’s top ranked basketball team deserved a better looking gym, she said.

Soon it turned into an assignment for the advanced art class and ten students were assigned  jobs.

Mayasa Bennett and Brandie Hamilton grabbed black sharpies and started tracing a warrior that Marr  projected on the wall. Danny Sola and Marr traced the triangular Indian tribal designs over the bleachers.

The following days, Sana Saeed, Mayasa Bennett, and Toyia Banks grabbed paint brushes and black paint and started painting the traced warrior mural. Marr and the rest of the students finished tracing the other designs.

Marr created a transparency for the word “WARRIORS” in very bold letters. When Marr projected it, she, Mayasa, and Jaylen Kimmel, took black sharpies and traced over it.  As they completed the letters, they grabbed black paint and started painting. Marr purchased $75 in supplies, which included painters’ tape, paint brushes, and of course paint. Her goal was to finish the entire gym by the end of January.

As the work progressed, Marr wanted to paint “MACK HOUSE” in thin black letters with a dream catcher inside of the “O” of HOUSE. And this would go on the opposite side of the gym.

The class also plans to decorate the top of the bleachers with the tribal designs.

To show much appreciation, the basketball team gave Marr a big Thank You card for all her hard work.

One of the students who helped paint the gym, Danny Sola, 17 and a senior, said that her role in painting the gym was to help trace the Indian tribal designs and paint them. She said that she liked what it has become and its progress.

Selena Williams, 17 and a junior, who did not work on the project said, ” It’s cool and it gives the gym a new look.”

Turning 48% into 99% — raising the percentage of public school students who graduate in Oakland

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REAL HARD retreat — bonding before tackling the dropout problem and (second photo) “Watch My Back” at Mack”]

By Eric Gant

A survey on how fights and bullying affect learning. Positive stickers that say “Watch my back.” And painting  “48%” on the faces of students (because only 48 percent graduate high school in Oakland). These were some of the “actions” that 14 students took this week after a two-day Real Hard retreat sponsored by Oakland Kids First.
“Students recognize that their community is going downhill and want immediate change and improvement, “ said Angelique Villasana, a junior at McClymonds. “They’re willing to take action.”

The activities grew out of the retreat for students from rival high schools, Oakland Tech and McClymonds, who focused on the controversial question: what stops a high school student from learning in Oakland? Peers, teachers, or the environment?

The goal was to write, through classroom exercises, and enforce a code of conduct that would improve interaction between students and teachers  and stop students from dropping out.

Fourteen students — five from McClymonds, the rest from rival Oakland Tech — attended the two-day leadership retreat. Real Hard is an after-school leadership training program that meets twice a week for two hour each session. Participating students receive a stipend of $350 a semester.
It was not the first time that the students tackled issues like bullying, teachers’ indifference and violence. However, this time students concentrated on relationships between teacher and student as well as among students.
Students also gathered more information than before. The survey at Oakland Tech, for instance, revealed that 54 percent of students feel that fights and bullying in school — whether they are personally involved in them or not — affect their learning and academic success.
At McClymonds, students proudly paraded their “We Got Your Back” stickers in psychedelic green, yellow and  orange. “It was a day of creating a culture of community,” said Stephen Vance, a senior at Mack and president of Oakland citywide high schools’ student government.

DeSean Jackson talks about Crenshaw, bullies and achievement

by Pamela Tapia

Nobody knew the “back story”: how McClymonds “won” an assembly with DeSean Jackson, Cal’s beloved star, now 24 and a wide receiver with the Philadelphia Eagles.

It was tweeted and Facebooked, announced and whispered and then, he was there.

Wearing jeans, a light blue Superman T-shirt, earrings, and a beaded necklace, Jackson dominated the room.

“He the man” said Shaquille Jackson, a freshman at Mack (no relation to DeSean).

The football star spoke from the heart, talking about his tough childhood living in the Crenshaw area of Los Angeles. He mentioned the violence that he witnessed as a kid and remembered friends he lost to crime in that area. He also touched on the subject of poverty and making a promise to his family about “making it big.”

“My mother doesn’t work for anybody. She works for me now,” said Jackson.

Jackson turned to a more serious tone when he explained that bullying was one of the reasons why he got involved in football.

“Where the bullies at?” said Jackson, who is 5-foot-10.

Eddie Heard, standing 6 feet 4 inches tall and quarterback for the McClymonds football team, jokingly stood up as the crowd chanted his name.

“He’s the biggest bully here,” said Dalvin Guy, a sophomore.

Jackson snickered as Heard sat down. He regained the crowd’s attention by assuring the group that “bullying doesn’t pay the bills.”

Jackson explained the dangers of bullying and mentioned his meeting with a victim of bullying on the show “The View.” He described that the 13-year-old victim was bullied by a group of seven teenagers and one of the offenders filmed the entire assault.

Jackson introduced his brother Byron Jackson, former San Jose State University wide receiver, who spoke about achievements in both of their lives.

“Desire. Principle. Belief. Power. With these principles you can achieve what you want,” said Byron Jackson.

Byron Jackson then showed a film about DeSean Jackson’s football career. The film calmed down the excited students, and ended with an image of Jackson’s loss to the Green Bay Packers in the 2011 playoff game.

“Don’t let anybody tell you can’t do it,” said Jackson.