CLAREMORE, Okla. - Claremore school officials are seeking to amend the district's anti-bullying policy to address cyberbullying.
Described as the use of the Internet, interactive and digital technologies or mobile phones to torment, threaten, harass, humiliate, embarrass or target another individual, cyberbullying is something currently not included in the district's policy, according to Claremore Public Schools District Superintendent Michael McClaren.
“It does not address the electronic means of bullying,” he told 2NEWS, saying officials are planning to discuss during a school board meeting next month how to implement a new policy in time for the Dec. 10 deadline.
In 2008, the state legislature passed an amendment to its School Bullying Prevention Act, mandating each district board of education adopt a policy “for the control and discipline of all children attending public school in that district, and for the investigation of reported incidents of harassment, intimidation, bullying, or threatening behavior.”
It stipulates that such policy would “specifically prohibit threatening behavior, harassment, intimidation, and bullying by students at school and by electronic communication, whether or not such communication originated at school or with school equipment, if the communication is specifically directed at students or school personnel and concerns harassment, intimidation, or bullying at school.”
McClaren told 2NEWS that while the discussion to take place next month is part of an effort to comply with the state law, the major goal is to provide a safe learning environment for the district's students.
“We are trying to take a more proactive stance as we obviously want to protect our students at school,” he said, adding such policy would encompass the use of Facebook, Twitter, texting and other such electronic means for bullying.
McClaren said one of the issues to be discussed next month will be whether or not the school will discipline students for bullying actions off campus.
He said as far as he is concerned, if for example the cyberbullying is between students using computers off campus, the matter becomes an issue for the district once brought onto the campus.
“When it is brought to school, it will be reported and brought to a bullying coordinator,” McClaren said, saying the coordinator – now in place in the district – will then investigate the situation an determine any further course of action.
The state law defines “at school” as “on school grounds, in school vehicles, at designated school bus stops, at school-sponsored activities, or at school-sanctioned events.”
Next month's Claremore Board of Education meeting is set for Nov. 12.
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