Readers: How to stop cyber bullying


“I am an 8th grade teacher at a middle school in Nebraska, and our school has addressed bullying numerous times,” says L. Fricke. “We have a ‘Citizenship Boot Camp’ at the beginning of the year to address school rules, classroom conduct, bullying, and digital citizenship. Students meet in the auditorium for a welcome and general information for the first day. Then they go to assigned ‘Boot Camp’ rooms to discuss ‘above the line and below the line’ behaviors, social issues that affect students their age, grading systems and GPA, what is required for particular classes, and bullying. These classes rotate every thirty minutes, so all students receive the same sessions that first day. Throughout the year, all of these areas are reviewed in some way.

“Last week, our school lawyer gave a presentation about cyber bullying, bullying, and sexting. She gave [students] actual examples of what had happened in schools and the legal consequences students received because of some form of inappropriate communication on cell phones, Facebook, MySpace, and the internet. In order for behaviors to change, students need ‘training’ to learn how to behave and specific strategies to avoid caving in to peer pressure. It can’t be a one-time shot; it needs to be an ongoing process throughout the school year.

“Right now, I have a group of students who have written several short plays about bullying. We will discuss the messages in the plays, select parts, practice, and then go to the local radio station to record them with sound effects and music to be used as PSAs that will continue to air throughout the summer. Students, teachers, administrators, and parents need to be a part of the anti-bullying process in order for this process to be successful. Student involvement can be in the form of role playing, creating iMovies, PowerPoints, posters, and other means of communication that can be ‘visible’ in some way throughout the school year. Do we still have bullies in our school? Yes. However, the communication we have created throughout our school has definitely improved student behavior.”

“The federal Department of Education and Office of Civil Rights have sent out two informative directives to all school districts across the country in the past six months. These directives focused on Section 504/Equity Compliance and School Bullying. The problem of school bullying is ever changing, and with today’s technology it gets easier for a child to be bullied and harder for schools to regulate bullying activity,” says R. Stellmaker. “My company has worked hard to develop a tool ‘Equity²TM’ that helps schools manage all forms of bullying along with their bullying policies. This system also helps school manage and maintain compliance with Section 504/Equity Compliance. To view a demo of this system, please visit www.rdeducationsolutions.com.”

Web Wise Kids crime-prevention games teach youth digital citizenship in schools and after school programs,” says marjieg.  “‘It’s Your Call’ is our newest game for tweens and teens and effectively addresses cyber bullying and empowers youth to make wise and respectful choices in their digital lives and in society. 10 million youth, throughout the nation, have experienced our programs.”

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“The Center for Civic Education’s School Violence Prevention Demonstration Program has a great visual/critical thinking activity that gets students to draw the connection between bullying/bullying prevention and concepts like privacy, justice, authority and responsibility,” says marcofp. “Go to http://democracymosaic.net/.”

However, some readers pointed out that bullying prevention in schools could lead to negative consequences if not handled correctly.

“No parent supports cyber bullying, but with the record of zero tolerance I would not support our schools getting involved and have concerns with the local DA’s overzealous prosecutions toward children,” says F. Borakove. “If common sense were the norm, than I would be approaching this differently. For example, a recent YouTube posting of a student being bullied and physically hit multiple times followed by his defending himself resulted in the bullied victim being suspended for five days because of the zero tolerance policy in schools. If the schools cannot effectively defend the students, then … what right do they have to punish the children for defending themselves? It is the school administrators who ought to be ashamed of themselves.”

eSchool News Staff

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