Baldwinsville School District addresses Internet safety, cyberbullying

Because the Baldwinsville Central School District is committed to providing students with a safe and productive learning environment, the district has hosted presentations on Internet safety including cyberbullying and sexting, for students at its middle school, junior high school and high school, as well as for staff and community members this school year.

At the beginning of the school year, Donald Budmen, Esq., from the law firm of Ferrara, Fiorenza, Larrison, Barrett & Reitz, PC, gave the presentation to the district's staff. He discussed how students nationwide are using cell phones for activities that disrupt learning and compromise student and staff safety including cheating, photographing and filming planned fights, and taking and disseminating inappropriate photos. He also talked about sexting, which is loosely defined as the use of electronic communication to send sexually explicit messages or photos, primarily between cell phones.

Budmen spoke about the explosion of social media and how students are using it to communicate as well as to cyberbully. Cyberbullying includes but is not limited to the misuse of technology tools to harass, threaten, intimidate or threaten an individual.

Superintendent Jeanne Dangle said she received positive feedback from staff members regarding the presentation, as well as many requests to have it repeated for the community and for students. In response to these requests, the district hosted Budmen, along with School Resource Officers Martin Knaul and Christine Weeks, in a community presentation in November. Dangle said those in attendance commented on how informative and beneficial the presentation was for the community and for parents.

To continue Baker High School's dialogue on bullying that began in December with the school's special half-day "Stand Up! Don't Stand By" program, the high school asked Budmen, along with Officer Knaul, to speak with Baker students about Internet safety and cyberbullying. Budmen adapted his presentation for students, and after speaking to the high school students in January, he repeated the presentation at Ray Middle School and at Durgee Junior High School, along with Officer Weeks, in February. At each student presentation, Budmen and the school resource officers discussed the dangers of abusing the Internet and electronic communication, as well as possible legal ramifications and school disciplinary actions based on the district's Code of Conduct.

Every school year, the Baldwinsville Central School District hosts community and parent presentations, such as the Internet safety presentation, to keep school district residents informed and up-to-date on topics and issues that affect students, families and the entire community. The district is looking for public input on topics for future informational programs for the community and for parents. If there is a topic you would like to see the district address with a community presentation, contact Kelly Cary, school information officer, at kcary@bville.org or 638-6180 with your suggestions.

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