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Internet Safety; Can we do more?

Sadly, too many of our students are subjected to bullying by their classmates. Unfortunately, I know a child who was recently bullied at school and was upset and shaken by the experience. Kids are often embarrassed to talk to their parents when these activities are taking place at school and educators need to be aware of the warning signs when students are engaging in these types of activities.
Bullying can take many forms including online harassment. School districts who receive E-rate funds are required to be CIPA compliant.  CIPA stands for the Children’s Internet Protection Act, part of this regulation is that schools are required to educate their students about cyberbullying as well as have an Internet Safety Policy. In fact, school district officials certify that they are in compliance with this regulation each time they submit their Form 486. The Universal Service Administrative Company must receive the Form 486 120 days from when services start or when a funding commitment is received, whichever is later. The funding can get reduced if the Form 486 is submitted late. Further information about the cyberbullying requirement and CIPA compliance can be found on the FCC website.
Many school districts also hand out Rights and Responsibilities Guides and Code of Conduct Procedures to students early in the school year, but do not require them to actually read them or hand them to their parents to review, sign or even acknowledge receipt. These manuals provide critical guidance about this important issue and personally, I think it would be beneficial for these guides to be required reading by all students and parents. Having these guides and manuals as required reading would provide a good opportunity for parents to talk to their children about appropriate behavior while at school.
Quite frankly, if we cannot keep our children safe at school, they will not learn the necessary skills they need to survive in the 21st Century.
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