Friday, Oct 24, 2014
Law Addresses Bullying in Illinois Schools
WSIL -- Several Illinois schools are back in session this week. For many teachers, anti-bullying will be a major lesson this school year.
Earlier this month, Governor Quinn signed a bill meant to cut down on student bullying.
"It's going to be tough to police things that happen at home," said Crab Orchard principal Sy Stone.
He supports a new law that expands the definition of bullying to include communications through e-mail or social networking websites. It's an issue he's seen before.
"In one example, we simply called the parent and made them aware of it," explained Stone. "I believe it was a Facebook post, and that post was just taken away."
"A student used to be able to go home and be alone and be with their family at the dinner table, but now you can't escape this stuff as long as your device is on," said Regional Superintendent Matt Donkin.
Next semester, schools must have anti-cyber bullying policies that include procedures for investigating reports of bullying, addressing the problem, and notifying parents.
"If something happens outside of school that impacts the educational process, school districts can go forward with discipline," explained Donkin. "We've had that with cases of bullying and fighting off of campus. Things that later become drama during the school day."
At Crab Orchard, Stone and faculty have already taken the first step, requiring students and parents to sign handbooks with a section on cyber bullying.
"After parents go over the handbook with their students they also go over the internet usage agreement," said Stone. "Those things are laid out in there so that the parents and the students have an understanding of what we expect of them."
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