Digitally placing classmates’ heads onto other people’s bodies, leaving abusive messages on Facebook profiles, eMailing X-rated images, and inciting violence via text message are all part of the modern school bully’s arsenal, Chicago Public School officials say. But now new district rules mean “cyber bullies” caught using cell phones or social networking web sites to pick on classmates face mandatory suspension, possible expulsion, and a police investigation, reports the Chicago Sun-Times. Officials say the tough stance — which regulates student behavior off campus and outside school hours, as well as during the school day — is necessary to tackle a growing trend of cyber bullying. Studies suggest as many as four in 10 kids are targeted by bullies online. Under the new Student Code of Conduct, passed by the Chicago Board of Education on July 28, cyber bullying will be considered as serious an offense as burglary, aggravated assault, gang activity, drug use, or more traditional forms of bullying. Students who use computers or phones to “stalk, harass, bully, or otherwise intimidate others” will be suspended for five to 10 days and could be referred for expulsion. The details automatically will be referred to Chicago Police, who could hit students with criminal charges. Students caught using district computers to harass others also could lose their computer privileges…

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