Running head: CYBER BULLYING POLICIES IN SCHOOLS

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Cyber bullying Policies in the Schools Ivey Manwaring Georgia Southern University

CYBER BULLYING POLICIES IN SCHOOLS Warwick School District Student Services & Special Education - Bullying / Cyber-Bullying Policy. (n.d.). Warwick School District Lititz, PA. Retrieved July 12, 2011, from http://www.warwick.k12.pa.us/orgmodule.php?deptid=107&schoolid=0007&mid=248 Policy #1 In Warwick School District, Pennsylvania, cyber bullying is lumped in with bullying in the District’s policy. The policy touches on definitions, delegation of responsibility, complaint procedure and violation procedure. Cyber bullying is considered any misuse of technology involving harassing, teasing, threatening, or terrorizing another student of staff member. Staff members as well as students are responsible for maintaining a cyber bullying free environment. Offenders will be dealt with in suitable disciplinary measures. The policy has much strength. First and foremost, now that bullying has become such a big topic in this country, the fact that school district finds cyber bullying as big of an issue to include as a policy is a significant strength. Annually the students will be informed that cyber

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bullying will not be tolerated. Not only does this policy hold teachers accountable for providing a cyber bullying free environment, but it also holds students accountable. It also points out that every complaint of cyber bullying will be investigated. A weakness I find is that the policy does not specify whether this policy is regarding only instances that occur on school campus, using school supplied technologies, or if it applies to anywhere, on/off campus, that involves someone that is a student or staff member at the school. Another weakness I found is that there is no specifically set consequences. It does say the “appropriate disciplinary actions…which may include suspension, expulsion or notification to the appropriate authorities”. While I think that is a good start, it should a bit more detailed.

CYBER BULLYING POLICIES IN SCHOOLS Bedford CSD. (n.d.). Bedford Central School District. Retrieved July 12, 2011, from www.bcsdny.org/files/policies/0115%20Bullying%20and%20Cyber%20Bullying%20Final %2Epdf Policy #2 In it’s commitment to provide a safe learning environment, the Bedford Central School District’s policy states that cyber bulling will not be tolerated. They define cyber bullying as “any unwelcome electronic communication”. This communication is then broken down in to five different criteria. This policy includes any actions that take place on any school property, including buses, school functions, or off campus but that interferes with the learning environment or a student’s ability to learn. All reports will be investigated and disciplinary actions will take place in accord with district policy. The biggest strength of this policy is that even if the offense takes place off school

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grounds, if it interferes with a student’s right and ability, it is considered a school matter and will be handled accordingly. The ever-popular social networking sites are also included as a medium for cyber bullying under this policy. It is also good that even bystanders can be disciplined for not reporting cyber bullying. The district will also inform staff and students annually on the cyber bullying policy and instruction involving procedures in regards to it. I honestly could not find any weaknesses in this policy. It is quite detailed.

CYBER BULLYING POLICIES IN SCHOOLS Bristol Public Schools: Cyberbullying Policy. (n.d.). Bristol Public Schools. Retrieved July 12, 2011, from http://www.bristol.k12.ct.us/page.cfm?p=5730 Policy #3 The Bristol Public Schools sees cyber bullying as misuses of technology, harassing, intimidating, threatening, or terrorizing another person by sending or posting inappropriate material. It also points out that malicious use of their computer system is prohibited. And any cyber bullying that disrupts the learning environment, even off campus, is also covered by this

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policy. Reports and evidence presented to the administration in regards to cyber bullying will be investigated. For those found in violation of this policy, disciplinary actions range from the loss of computer privileges to expulsions. Depending on the severity of violation, there is also possible involvement by law enforcement. Including cyber bullying off campus that disrupts the learning environment as a violation of this policy is a great strength. It is also good that the different possibilities for disciplinary action are stated and that also depending on the violation, law enforcement can be contacted. The school district really seems to grasp that cyber bullying is a major issue. Although off campus cyber bullying can be considered a violation if it interferes with learning, I find it a weakness that another policy has to be violated to warrant violation of this policy. While this policy includes many good points, the lack of details leave gaps that could possibly be argued against should an issue arise.

CYBERBULLYING POLICIES IN SCHOOLS The Board is committed to providing a safe, positive, productive, and nurturing educational environment for all of its students. The Board provides computers as tools to enhance our students’ education. Cyber bullying toward a student, whether by other students, staff, or third parties is strictly prohibited and will not be tolerated.

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Cyber bullying is the use of information and communication technologies such as e-mail, text messages, instant messaging (IM), websites, digital images, blogs, social networking sites, and chat to threaten, harass, or intimidate any student or staff member. The scope of this policy will include any action that takes place on any school properties and at school sanctioned events. This also includes off school grounds when the action interferes in the operation of a school or with a student’s ability to receive an education. It is the responsibility of the staff and students to report any instance of cyber bullying to the administration. All reports will be investigated. If it is determined that cyber bullying has occurred, depending on the severity, the appropriate disciplinary actions will be taken. These actions include, but aren’t limited to: lose of computer/technology privileges, suspension, or expulsion. Also, any kind of threat will be reported to the local law enforcement. Staff members, students, and parents will be reminded annually of this policy and will be required to sign an acknowledgement and understanding of this policy.

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