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Schools Partner with FB to Help Fight Cyber Bullying

“It's much easier to sit behind a computer and have a cell phone and type out something negative than it is to say to a persons face. So, kids not involved normally in bullying can get sucked into it easily in this situation."

FREDERICK COUNTY, Md. - Growing up it’s common many students fear getting bullied and school counselors say it’s a growing problem, partially due to the internet. 

“It's much easier to sit behind a computer and have a cell phone and type out something negative than it is to say to a persons face. So, kids not involved normally in bullying can get sucked into it easily in this situation,” said Debra Boyce, school counselor at Frederick County Public Schools.

Maryland Attorney General Douglas Gansler is working with educators across the state on the issue, and announced a new plan Thursday in partnership with Facebook to help fight cyber bullying. 

“We can no longer brush off these episodes and we must reject a ‘kids will be kids’ mentality that ignores how to confront this troubling trend,” said Attorney General Douglas Gansler. “I commend Facebook for working with us to give educators a more streamlined way to report possible instances of cyber bullying among their students.”

According to the Attorney General’s office, school systems will be able to have a representative in direct communication with Facebook. They say this will allow any inappropriate comments to be removed as quickly as possible off the Web. Frederick County Public Schools says they’re on board with the program and hopes it will help in their fight to put an end to bullying. 

“Anything that's going to support all of us in the education system and our students, who are our future, to eliminate bullying and help more positive communication is great,” said Boyce. 

One million students faced cyber bullying on Facebook in 2011, according to a Consumer Reports survey.

The announcement of this initiative comes just two days after Grace’s law took effect in the State. Grace’s law is named after a Maryland teenager who committed suicide, after repeated cyber bullying.

Under the law, bullying a minor on social media sites is a misdemeanor offense. Graces Law is an extension of legislation passed back in 2012 that broadened the crime of e-mail harassment to include other forms of communication, including texting and social media. 

 


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