Approx. 160,000 children miss school because they fear bullying
One in three teens (ages 12-17) have been victims of cyberbullying
One in six pre-teens (ages 6-11) have been victims of cyberbullying
Children are just as likely to receive threatening messages at school as they are at home
The impact on the victims of bullying often include truancy, depression, poor academic performance, and sometimes suicide
Is it against the law? That depends… The biggest hurdle that prosecutors face in cyberbullying cases is the First Amendment right to freedom of speech. There have been numerous court cases concerning cyberbullying, however each is individual and rulings remain just as unique and difficult to predict.
Is it against the law? That depends… Cases in which cyberbullies have been convicted have shown that they have abused this constitutional right to an extent that they be held accountable for their actions.
Can teachers determine the scope of a student’s right to freedom of speech?
Challenges for Teachers None of these questions can be answered definitively. Each case must be viewed individually, however, to shed some light on one important point, schools are allowed (in many cases) to take disciplinary action on incidences that occur in a student’s home as soon as a learning environment or student’s learning experience is compromised as a result.
Creating a policy Be proactive, not reactive. Having a classroom technology policy can prevent problems from happening before they occur. It can also provide teachers with a set of fair and equal set of consequences for policy violations.
Creating a policy Be proactive, not reactive. In order to create an effective policy, teachers and administrators must employ wording that is broad enough to cover as many instances as possible, while they must also be specific enough so that a document can uphold its integrity in a court of law if necessary.
Creating a cyberbullying/technology policy for your classroom A good policy should:
be informative (defining cyberbullying and other terms that may be unfamiliar) and directed towards both parent(s)/guardian(s) and student
show compliance and understanding by both parent(s)/guardian(s) and student (preferably by means of a signature) and returned to the teacher to be filed
Educate students about the dangers of cyberbullying at an early age (as soon as they begin using the computer)
Treat cyberbullying as we would the issues of lying, cheating, or stealing when students are young.
If they become familiar with these values, they might be less likely to participate in these destructive behaviors.
Prevent behavior: Be proactive
Be proactive in presenting classroom expectations, outlining acceptable usages, and introducing policy early.
Remind students of the policies in place frequently throughout the duration of a project or school year.
Post your policy in the classroom or computer lab so students have no excuse for being unfamiliar with it.
Prevent behavior: Actively monitor
Actively monitor students at all times when using technology.
Monitor computers and Internet history as well as student behavior in the classroom.
Students know when they are being monitored closely, and chances of problems occurring in your classroom will be less if you are a constant, active presence.
Complete the Activity: Locate the Cyberbullying Activity on WesternOnline. Read it carefully and complete it by the posted due date. Worth 40 pts. Don’t forget to review the rubric before starting!
References Bully Police U.S.A. (2009). Retrieved from website: www.bullypolice.org Meyers, J. J. (2009). Censoring cyber speech on campus??? Unpublished manuscript. Presented September 29, 2009 at Western Illinois University. Meyers, J. J., & Carper, G. T. (2009). Cyberbullying: The legal challenge for educators. West’s Educational Law Reporter. Meyers, J. J., Carper, G. T., & Hemphill, L. S. (2009). Cyber Bullies Come to Campus: Are Administrators and Faculty Ready? Roskamp, T. J. (2009). Cyberbullying in Illinois public schools. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Western Illinois University.