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B'ville school resource officers address cyberbullying

Because the Baldwinsville Central School District is committed to providing students with a safe and productive learning environment, bullying in any form is strictly prohibited on school property, in school buildings and at school sponsored events and activities that occur on and off campus. School Resource Officers Martin Knaul and Christine Weeks remind parents and students that all forms of bullying are punishable as stipulated in the district's code of conduct.

Officer Knaul said that although parents and students are familiar with the traditional definition of bullying, which includes physical, verbal and psychological threats to an individual's well being, many may not be as familiar with cyberbullying and what it encompasses. Officer Knaul said that cyberbullying includes, but is not limited to, the misuse of technology tools to harass, threaten, intimidate or threaten an individual. Technology tools include computers, the Internet, social media and cell phones.

Technology tools enable individuals to harass others outside of school, at any hour of the day, and often anonymously. Officer Knaul noted that many parents and students do not realize that cyberbullying can be considered aggravated harassment, which is a misdemeanor and punishable by law. Cyberbullying that occurs off-campus, but causes or threatens to cause a disruption in school may be subject to disciplinary action from the school district. Officer Knaul said that cyberbullying tends to generate physical confrontations at school.

He suggested parents periodically check their children's computers, e-mail and cell phones to see what they are doing and with whom they are communicating. Parents are legally responsible for the content on their children's computers and cell phones.

Officer Weeks said that parents can purchase filtering and monitoring software for their home computers. She recommends consulting with your online service provider to find out what filtering and monitoring programs the provider offers. Parents looking for a good resource on Internet safety and cyberbullying should visit netsmartz.org.

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