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Bullying has always been a problem schools have had to deal with, but the Fair Grove School District is taking steps to tackle the new issue of cyber bullying. KSMU’s Adam Murphy reports.
This month Fair Grove held a new class for parents to prevent the rising problem of cyber bullying. The class is intended to make parents aware of the problem, and teach them how to protect their children from it. Shawnda Minor is a Fair Grove Middle School teacher and instructor of the course. She shares the importance of the parents’ role in dealing with the issue.
“Before the internet and cyberspace and everything else came along, bullying was kind of limited as to when it could happen. With the cyber bullying, it’s a 24/7 issue. For us to involve the parents, it would help continue that safety net,” said Minor.
The class gives parents tips on things they can do at home to help their children, such as setting expectations and using software that filters what sites kids can and can’t access. Minor says she believes that cyber bullying is something that deserves more attention because too many parents are unaware of the dangers. She describes how it also makes bullying easier for some students.
“A lot of kids that wouldn’t naturally be a bully are able to be a cyber bully because of the anonymity. Their audience is invisible, they’re invisible and sometimes they’re more free to say or do things they wouldn’t say in person,” she said.
Minor says that any school district and parent can benefit from becoming more aware on the issue, and hopes this is just the beginning of getting the word out. Cyber bulling has gained attention in recent years, particularly in Missouri after a teenager from St. Charles County hanged herself in 2006 after receiving several taunting messages online. For KSMU News, I’m Adam Murphy.