Last month, Claremore Superintendent Mike McClaren gave copies of the district’s bullying policy to board members and asked them to review the current policy to determine how to revise it to include electronic bullying or “cyberbullying.”
Cyberbullying can be defined as repeated threats or harrassment through the use of computers and cell phones. After the issue was brought to the school’s attention, board members decided that no matter where the bullying occurs, whether on campus or off, the problem will need to be addressed by school officials.
“It goes beyond the school grounds,” said McClaren. “If a student or parent reports, let’s say Facebook bullying, we are then responsible for handling matters with Bullying Coordinator and Resource Officer Robin Blair.”
He said after Blair is contacted, the school can then determine what actions need to be made to prevent future harassment.
“Anytime there is an incident like this, I usually try to talk with the students involved first,” said Blair. “Depending on the severity of the issue, if it is the perpetrator’s first offense, he or she will be given a warning. The second time it happens the parents may be contacted to discuss what is happening.”
She said if the problem continues, she has no problem writing a report to have the student or students taken into custody for juvenile confinement.
“Facebook bullying is a weekly deal at the high school and junior high,” said Blair. “We need to be able to protect the students even when they are not in school. Parents should check students’ Facebook and email at least once a week.”
The Claremore Board of Education discussed the issue during Monday’s board meeting and plans to implement the new policy before the deadline on Dec. 10.