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North Syracuse schools to review Internet policy

Roxboro Road Middle School Facebook incident prompts creation of policy review committee

One Roxboro Road Middle School student created a "hurtful" Facebook page with comments directed at a teacher, but approximately 33 more students were also punished for becoming "fans" of the page.

North Syracuse Central School District Superintendent of Schools Dr. Jerome Melvin said the additional students received disciplinary consequences because the "page was directly attacking the teacher."

The student who created the page received three days suspension, and has returned to school this week, said Steve Wolf, Executive Principal of Roxboro Road Middle School. The other 30-plus students each received three days of after-school detention, according to Melvin.

{Q}"They [students] made a decision to click on an icon and become a fan," Melvin said.{Q} "They could have viewed the page without becoming a fan, but they chose to support it."

Wolf said he received an e-mail regarding the Facebook page.

Onondaga County Deputy Sheriff Chris Dell, the school resource officer, performed an investigation which led the district to believe the incident was school-related, although Melvin said he doesn't believe there was any "page viewing" on school property.

While some parents argued with the punishment, Melvin said "the incident became a school issue with its impact on the classroom." The negative comments directed toward the middle school teacher could "absolutely affect the school," Melvin said.

Melvin said the page was not only "hurtful to the teacher's reputation, but that it was derogatory," also.

"There were a few sexual statements on the page," Melvin said.

Both Melvin and Wolf said that students have experienced several Internet-related training seminars. Roxboro Road Middle School students even viewed a presentation on "cyber bullying," before winter break, Wolf said. The Onondaga County Assistant District Attorney presented the information.

The presentation included several aspects of technologically-based social interaction that can become abusive or "inappropriate for children," Wolf said.

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