Anti-violence campaign visits CSUEB



The Positive Alternative Recreation Team Building Squad provides support for youth who deal with bullying issues.

Winston Ashby stood up in front of a crowd of adults and kids in the New University Union at California State University, East Bay last Saturday, and picked up the microphone.

“If you are serious, and ready to make a change, I want you to come stand next to me,” he said, inviting anybody in the audience to come on stage and physically show their desire to stand up to bullying.

Ashby is founder of the PARTI, or the Positive Alternative Recreation Teambuilding Impact squad, and hosted their ‘Stop the Violence’ presentation at CSUEB last Saturday. The PARTI squad is a support team for all bullying cases located in San Jose, including a network of youth and community stakeholders who work with middle schools and high schools to train youth on activities to address all forms of bullying.

Their goal is to change the lives of youth who suffer from depression, violent lifestyles, unhealthy relationships and unstable families, according to the PARTI program.

“We teach them how to deal with bullying and other issues by allowing them to know that if they need a safe place to tell somebody an issue is taking place, they can either do it through our program or through one of the partnered organizations we connect with,” Ashby said.

“I always ask the student if they feel comfortable with reporting [a bullying issue] and if they felt comfortable I would say ‘do you want me to be with you while you talk to an administrator or whatever channels you need to take to address it.’

The program offers support groups where youth can talk to trained adults about their problems, and socialize with other youth members who are looking to overcome obstacles in their life as well.

“Young people just want to make sure that there’s somebody there to support them,” Ashby said. “We try to make sure that every student [volunteer] or ourselves, is there, available and trained to help assist them if they ever reach out and feel like they feel like they’re being bullied.”

Bullying is defined by California Education Code 48900 R as a severe or pervasive, physical or verbal act or conduct including communications made in writing or by means of an electronic art and including one or more of the following: sex harassment, hate violence, threats, harassment or intimidation.

“We need people, like these support groups, nonprofit organizations, and church groups to work together and work with the city,” Councilmember Mark Salinas said at the event, “You guys are the ones who are interacting with the kids on a daily basis, the ones who show them what’s right, what’s wrong, what’s safe and what’s healthy. You guys are the role models.”

Groups like the PARTI squad can make a huge difference in cities like Hayward, where one-third of the entire city is under the age of 19, according to Salinas.

According to the Hayward Unified School District, there has not been a ‘significant issue’ of bullying within Hayward schools. However the district agrees that bullying behavior can get in the way of student learning, said Administrator of Student Placement Kat Hannah.

When addressed with a bullying issue, the HUSD staff is expected to intervene consistently and each concern is investigated. The staff partners with students and their families develop an individualized response to each student’s concern. A documentation of each complaint is filed and investigation results are kept according to law and board policy, according to Hannah.

“HUSD addresses every bullying concern that arises and we have a deliberate focus on relationship building and positive climate development in each of our schools,” Hannah said.

District teachers participate in curriculum development workshops focusing on student led anti-bullying campaigns and the school also has reached out to parents and community for additional support and to provide education

“When the community or family members say ‘I’m going to stand up and support you no matter what you’re going through,’ that’s when we can make a difference in a child’s life,” Ashby said.

The PARTI squad’s next event will be a Youth in Action training program in Los Angeles County Mar. 28 followed by Youth in Action recognition day in Santa Clara County Apr. 11.

“The kids I work with, actually inspire me,” Ashby said. “We have runaways, youths from unstable and broken homes, violence and alcohol abuse in the home, their parents have lost their jobs, the kids simply feel abandoned. These kids give their all to be a part of their program. These kids still hang in there, and they’re beating the odds.”