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This year, school districts across the country have grappled with cyberbullying and social media in school.
These policy discussions stepped up a notch earlier this year after high school student Phoebe Prince hung herself outside her Massachusetts home. She had been bullied both online and in person.
In response, one principal asked parents to ban social networking. And school districts across the country have reconsidered their policies on cell phone use and cyberbullying.
In the latest of a string of deaths related to cyberbullying and social media this year, a Rutgers University freshman committed suicide by jumping off a bridge on Sept. 22. His roommate and another student recorded a sexual encounter between Tyler Clementi and another male, and then streamed it online.
But rather than banning the tools students like these use to bully others, educators should deal with their behavior. That's the message that Dave Meister delivered on the Connected Principals blog today.
Meister directs Illinois' first cooperative high school, Paris Cooperative High School, and said in the video that he's been dealing with several incidents of cyberbullying in his building in the last week. These incidents, along with the university student's death, have prompted the school to think about how to deal with students' behavior.
"The answer to ending bullying or misuse of social media is not to ban it ... what we need to do is talk about the behaviors that are unacceptable," he said in the video.
These problems are not new. They've been around in other forms with paper and pencils and pens, but we don't ban those tools, he says. So why would we ban cell phones?
As adults, he says, we must model the correct way to use tools such as cell phones to connect with the world and learn.
That's what one principal says about social media and cyberbullying. What do you have to say?
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