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5 Steps to Minimize Cyberbullying in Your School
In today’s age there are many social media platforms students have access to, consequently making cyberbullying a constant issue in school districts. While school officials must proactively protect students and prevent disruptions, they’re also legally obligated to respect students’ rights to free speech.
While it’s important that school officials not overstep students’ rights to free speech when monitoring cyberbullying, they also must not take a passive role. When cyberbullying takes place through the use of a district internet system, school-owned computers or other school property, liability concerns arise. Since cyberbullying is a relatively recent issue, there’s no legal precedent. To avoid negligence, schools must ensure they exercise a reasonable standard of care. While officials should always contact legal counsel to discuss the extent of their liability, adequate precautions might include the following five steps:
- Organize a planning effort to address current practices and implement an anti-cyberbullying program.
- Address policies on internet use and management.
- Through policy, ensure adequate monitoring of student internet use.
- Educate faculty and students about the seriousness of cyberbullying and communicate related policies.
- Regularly assess the effectiveness of the anti-bullying program.
It’s important to remember that a district can be considered financially liable if school officials with authority to take action have knowledge of communication that creates a hostile school environment. Further questions on your risk? Contact us.
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