Spectrum Article on Cyberbullying

November 14, 2013

CVHS gets proactive on cyberbullying

Cedar police open investigation into websites

Tracie Sullivan

tracie@thespectrum.com

Concerned about some social media websites that may be encouraging cyberbullying, Canyon View High School principal Rich Nielsen sent a letter home this week to parents saying his school has been working with the Cedar City attorney and police department to address the issue.

Jimmy Roden, public information officer for the Cedar City police department, confirmed Thursday the department has opened an investigation into the sites and is working to identify victims, witnesses and suspects.

Cyberbullying is information transferred by way of any electronic device with the intent of hurting, embarrassing, or threatening someone else. This information can vary from photos to written messages.

Other forms of cyberbullying include cyberstalking and cyberharassment.

In the letter sent to parents, Nielsen said the school has seen a “disturbing trend of anonymous hateful accounts being created and followed by 100s of kids.” He called these sites, located on Twitter and Facebook, “filth,” and encouraged parents to be aware of what their children are doing online. “I would ask all parents to be aware of your child’s use of Twitter and Facebook in following hateful accounts,” he wrote.

Nielsen told parents that some will dismiss these harmful messages as just “fun,” but there is nothing fun about being a target on the sites. Nielsen said he chose to take a proactive approach rather than brush it under the rug because he said he doesn’t want to see the situation get out of hand and spark a criminal incident.

Nielsen said he didn’t know of any student in Iron County ever being prosecuted for cyberbullying — but said he believes officials have been able to get a handle on prior situations before it became criminal.

However, he said students had been reprimanded with school consequences for cyberbullying behavior. “It’s our goal to keep every kid in school and to educate every student,” Nielsen said. “We aren’t looking for reasons to get them arrested and in the system. I don’t think we’ve had a situation yet that hasn’t stopped after we addressed it in the school, so we didn’t have to go that far.”

Nielsen said it’s difficult for him to think of some of his students participating in the type of behavior he’s seeing online.

“I see these kids in the hallways and there I have seen nothing but respect from these kids,” he said. “There, they wouldn’t say anything hurtful, so it’s hard for me to think about them behaving like that.”

Iron County Superintendent Shannon Dulaney said she appreciates Nielsen’s approach to the issue and is glad to see he is willing to do more than what state law mandates. Dulaney said she believes computers often empower people to say things they might not say in a face-to-face situation.

Most officials agree the answer to the issue lies with parents becoming actively engaged in their children’s lives, including online.

“Parents need to be responsible. We’re doing our part to monitor the kids at school, but if the parents are going to give these kids the use of this technology and devices, then there needs to be some oversight that goes with that,” Dulaney said.

Some parents maintain children need to “toughen up” and learn how to not take things so personally. Nielsen, however, said adults to need understand not all children are the same and some kids are more emotionally fragile than others. “Each kid is so different,” he said. “They don’t have a standard — some kids can’t stand up to the pressure.”

Canyon View will be holding two assemblies Thursday at 8 and 9 a.m. to address the issue of cyberbullying. Nielsen said he welcomes parents to join them.

Additional Facts

Online Resources

• NetSafeUtah:

http://www.netsafeutah.org/

• NetSmartz:

http://www.netsmartz.org/Safety/SafetyTips

• GetNetWise:

kids.getnetwise.org/safetyguide/

• FBI-Parent Guide:

http://www.fbi.gov/stats-services/publications/parent-guide/parent-guide

• Safekids:

http://www.safekids.com/

Advertisements

Bullying and Safety Kits

Hello Parents,

 
I have been asked to pass along a letter from School Resource Officer Matt Topham and ICSD Administrators regarding an effort to collect materials for school safety kits to be available in every room in the event of an emergency or lockdown setting. Please review the letter and if you are able to help in this effort, please bring the item(s) to the school prior to Nov 22.

 
Also, I would ask all parents to be aware of your child’s use of Twitter and Facebook in following hateful accounts. We have seen a disturbing trend of anonymous hateful accounts being created and followed by 100s of kids. These accounts will post negative, hurtful, harmful messages about kids. These could include rumors of sex with other students, sexually transmitted diseases, rumors of using drugs or alcohol, and so forth. It is filth. Some will dismiss it as just “fun” and people need to ‘lighten up.”  I can assure you, however, if you or your child is being targeted by these rumors and filth, there is nothing fun about it.
 
Please talk to your child. See who their “Friends” are on Facebook. See who they “Follow” on twitter. If they are full of hateful messages, encourage your child to not give the hateful people an audience. Unfriend. Unfollow.  We are working with the City Attorney and Cedar Police to address the issue but we need everyone’s help to stop the anonymous abuse.  Do not just assume your child isn’t involved. I have had some very pointed discussions with many of our kids at the school over the past few days because they are either supporting the abuse by giving it an audience, or they are being targeted by the abusers.
 
Thank you for your assistance!  
 
 
 
Attached Letter:

Dear Parents and Guardians:

Each year we see situations across the country where students are harmed in natural disasters or school violence. These situations can have a devastating effect on the families and communities involved. As a school district we will do everything in our power to prevent this from happening, but we will also stand ready to respond if it ever does. Therefore, we are putting together emergency preparedness kits for each of the schools in the Iron County School District.

A kit will be placed in each classroom, library, and lunchroom. In addition they will be placed in other areas where the students may be located in the event of an emergency, such as a natural disaster or school lockdown. These kits will be a vital resource for our teachers and students if they are in a school lockdown or an emergency situation for an extended amount of time. To this end, we are asking for any contributions to assist in creating these kits.

The items that we still need to create each of these kits are as follows:

  • 15 foot length of nylon cord
  • A tarp approximately 6 foot by 8 foot
  • Toilet paper or baby wipes
  • A flashlight with batteries
  • A case of bottled water
    • some food items (hard candy, granola bars, or other single serving non-perishable food item)
  • A bottle of hand sanitizer
  • Small roll of duct tape
  • Some feminine hygiene products (for the female students in the older grades).

Please bring your donations to your child’s school by Friday the 22nd of November. Any of these items that you can donate will be greatly appreciated. We will then sort the items and begin to build these kits.

We will also accept monetary donations in order to purchase these items and complete these kits. We ask that money donations please be brought into the Main Office of the schools. These donations will be collected by the Principals and other school administrators. All donations will first go to the schools in which they are received. After these needs are met, any additional items will then be used in the other schools in the district as needed.

In order to meet the needs of the school district we will need 600 completed kits. This is a large and difficult task. However, with your help, together we can accomplish this goal and help to ensure the safety of our students.

Thank You

Iron County School District Administration

 

 

2nd Quarter Begins

This email was sent to all parents on October 22nd…

 

Parents,

 
I just wanted to drop you a quick note as we begin second quarter and let you know of the great work done by students to start the year out. The average daily attendance percentage for the school is 96.77%. Our senior class led the way with a 98.0% attendance rate. This is a great indicator of student success and engagement in the learning process.
 
The school has been well-represented by our clubs and student-athletes this Fall. It is always so fun to see the students work so hard both in the classroom and in their extra-curriculars. The FFA Land Judging team took first place at their state competition and are going to be representing Utah at the National Competition in 2014. Our Girls Cross Country team took second place at the Region 9 competition this past week and are headed to state today.  The list of accomplishments and great effort goes on and on. Thank you for supporting your student and all of Canyon View!
 
Coming up in the next few weeks are tryouts for our winter sports teams (swimming, wrestling and basketball).  Also looking ahead we invite everyone to come out for the combined Canyon View / Cedar High performance of West Side Story. The musical will run November 7, 8, 9, 11, 13, 14, 15, 16 at 7 pm. All performances will be at Cedar High. This combined effort is something we have done in the past and has proven to be a great endeavor. Come on out and enjoy the show!
 
There has been lengthy discussions among the secondary administrators and the district office personnel on the possibility of instituting a Late-Start collaboration time. This would be similar to what has been done for years among elementary schools. The purpose of the Late-Start time would be to provide an opportunity for secondary teachers across the district to collaborate as teams of professionals. 
 
One of the greatest struggles we have in a high school is to provide teachers with common time to talk about individual students as well as train on best practices. I reflect on my own experience as a math teacher and wonder how much more effective I could have been if I had been able to collaborate with the science and language arts teachers on what is working and not working for a student struggling to keep up or a student that is an advanced learner and is bored in class.  
 
I also love the possibility of providing our teachers an opportunity to collaborate with teachers from across the district on best practices and what is working well. This would be a huge benefit to not only our core teachers but also our teachers in art, business, CTE, and so forth where they are the only teacher in the school with their specialty.  The end result is increased achievement for students and a better experience for students.

 
While we have had much discussion on the subject, there is still much work to be done before we are ready to roll it out. At this point I am not sure whether Late-Start will happen in January at the semester break or possibly in August to start the new year. On November 19th at 4 pm Superintendent Dulaney will make a presentation to the school board in the regularly scheduled ICSD School Board Meeting. Public input will be welcomed at that time. If you have an interest or opinion on the subject, we would invite you to attend that meeting.  I would also welcome questions on the issue.
 
Thank you again for all you do in support of our students and school community.