Responding to Cyberbullying: Top Ten Tips for Educators

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Rafael Nunez cyberbullying.educators 300x201

 

  • Thoroughly investigate all incidents so that you can direct resources and, if necessary, discipline to students who require it.

 

  • Enlist the support of a school liaison officer or another member of law enforcement to help, especially when it involves a possible threat to the safety of your students or staff.

 

  • Once you identify the offending party, develop a response that is commensurate with the harm done and the disruption that occured.

  • Work with parents to convey to the student that cyberbullying behaviors are taken seriously and will not be tolerated at your school.

 

  • Instruct parents to contect an attorney. Some instances of cyberbullying just don’t fall under the purview of the school. In these cases, parents may want to pursue other avenues for redress. All states allow for parties to sue others in civil court for haeassment, international infliction of emotional distress, or a number of other torts.

 

  • Contact cell pone providers if threats or explicit content are transmitted via theses devices. These companies keep data that may serve as evidence on their servers for a limited period of time before deleting it.

 

  • Keep all evidence of cyberbullying. Keep a file with screen shots, message logs, or any other evidence so that you can demonstrate the seriousness of the behavior and its impact on the school. This is especially critical if you intend to formally punish students (e.g., suspension, expulsion).

 

  • Contact and work with MySpace, Facebook or any other web enviroment where bullying ocurred. By now they are used to working through cyberbullying cases and can be a resource to assist you in removing offending content, gathering evidence, or put you in touch with someone who can help.

 

  • Solicit advice from neighboring schools or districts about incidents they may have dealt with in the past.

 

  • Use creative informal response strategies, particularly for relatively minor forms of cyberbullying that do not result in significant harm. For example, students may be required to create anti-cyberbullying posters to be displayed throughout the school. Older students might be required to give a brief presentation to younger students about the importance of responsibly using technology. It is important to condemn the behavior while sending a message to the rest of the school community that bullying in any form is wrong.

 

Source: Cyberbullying.org