In this high tech world, school bullying has taken on many new forms. Sexting, online slam books and other forms of cyber-bullying are a constant problem for parents and school districts.
The problem has gotten so bad that the Federal Communications Commission recently required all schools receiving federal funds for computer programs to institute classes on preventing cyber bullying.
According to the National Crime Prevention Council, cyber-bullying is experienced by nearly half of all U.S. teens. Cyber-bullying is when people use computers, cell phones or any other electronic device to pester and annoy others with nasty and even threatening messages. These bullying tactics can take the form of remarks and photos posted to social networking sites, embarrassing videos uploaded to YouTube, or salacious messages and photos sent through a cell phone.
"It is growing by the day as kids younger and younger are using interactive technology," Parry Aftab, an Internet privacy and security lawyer, told Reuters. Aftab is also co-founder and executive director of Wired Safety, which runs a website called stopcyberbullying.org. "They're now carrying around more power in their backpacks, pockets and purses than most corporations had 10 years ago," she said.
Still, however, bullying is often done the old fashioned way, and schools need to be prepared to deal with both manifestations of it.
The Hampton Bays School District deals with all forms of bullying at all levels, said School District Superintendent Lars Clemensen. "We are focused on this issue daily to make sure kids have a safe environment when they come to school," he said, adding that the elementary school recently recognized "Anti-bullying Week."
Hampton Bays Middle School has a Peer Mediation Group that takes place every morning and is active partners with Big Brothers, Big Sisters. The school district also has a cyber-safety and cyber-bulling program and a character education program.
"We're very proactive in teaching students positive behaviors and also in recognizing when bullying takes place and how to recognize it," Clemensen said.