You are a High School Liaison Officer and have been asked by a Middle School Principal to work with him in addressing cyber bullying at his school. Recently, a female student committed suicide...

You are a High School Liaison Officer and have been asked by a Middle School Principal to work with him in addressing cyber bullying at his school. Recently, a female student committed suicide after being accused of having sexual relations with a fellow student. The allegations were not true. The offender, a fellow student, has been identified and interviewed. The deceased student was targeted, as she was not viewed as being “popular.” The interactions took place on a social media website.

Develop a preliminary plan of action that you will submit to your Chief of Police, School District Superintendent and Middle School Principal to address this problem.  Be sure to include detailed information on dealing with the aftermath of this situation as well as proposed preventative measures that may keep something like this from happening again.  Your plan should be at least three pages, not including a title and reference page.  Site at least three sources and use proper APA format.

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mizzwillie's profile pic

mizzwillie | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Senior Educator

Posted on

The above answer does cover all that you need to answer your question.  I am simply adding some thoughts as I volunteer at a homeless shelter for youth ages 16-24 plus I am an on-call crisis counselor at the county jail.  This relates to bullying because many of the youth were either bullied or were the bullies themselves.  What strikes me the most about these youth is how often they had no one to guide them, talk to them about serious issues, or explain the negatives of bullying or how to get help.  One of them committed suicide this year, and all of us had to look at what kind of conversations we had been having with this student.  We now try to connect a student with someone they have sort of bonded with to try to help them. 

With prisoners, both bullies and the bullied are among the population.  My task is to first calm them down and then look at the triggers which set them off.  Memories of school often bring up feelings of uselessness or the anger at their circumstances which made them a bully.  I particularly remember a young man whose mother gave him a gun at age 12, told him not to come home again, and said that he was now on his own.  Most of those in jail said that no one cared about them, and that the school was glad to get rid of them.  Now, most teachers do care about students, but they MUST tell them and then show it.  Kids like these don't believe it because so many people they trusted betrayed them. 

Bullying can be improved if we are serious about stopping it.  I ran a group of students, kept the information talked about within the group, and the group stopped many examples of bullying.  The key was the backing of the terrific principal I had. 

pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

If I understand the question correctly, the plan we come up with has to deal with the aftermath of this suicide and also has to propose actions to try to prevent bullying in the future. I will focus first on the fallout from the suicide and second on future prevention.

In the short term, our plan needs to focus on the needs of students at the school who have been traumatized by the suicide. Our first effort should be to identify those students.  We should look for the suicide victim’s friends, but we should also be talking to others who might be likely to be bullied to see if they are feeling more vulnerable since the suicide.  We should provide counseling for these children.  We should also consider counseling for the offender since he or she might be feeling guilty and those feelings might lead to further problems.

Once we have dealt with the immediate crisis, we need to think about how to prevent or reduce bullying in the future. I would recommend the following steps. First, we need to investigate to determine where and when bullying is happening.  To stop the problem, we need to know the situations in which it happens. Once we have determined where and when the problems occur, we need to start dedicating time and energy to prevention. We need to have more adults present in the times and places when bullying is likely to happen. We need to train those adults on what to look for and how to intervene.  We also have to make sure that the adults in the school take bullying seriously. We need them to be committed to the program that we are undertaking.  All of this needs to be underpinned by clear policies about bullying—about what constitutes bullying and what our responses will be. Because cyberbullying is part of the problem, we probably need to involve parents in the program more than we might otherwise have done.  They are much more able to monitor their children’s use of social media than we in the school are.

In addition to having and enforcing policies, we need to work on changing attitudes among students.  We cannot end bullying unless we get more students to disapprove of the practice.  We need to set up a program or programs to encourage students to be more empathetic towards one another and to be more proactive if they see others being bullied. Here, too, it will be important to get support from parents and from other community groups such as church youth groups and sports teams.  As much as possible, we need those groups to reinforce the efforts that we are undertaking at school.

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