Don’t assume your student is safe from bullying while learning from home.
This school year, our students are learning in the classroom as well as online from home.
While students inside school buildings may come to mind first when you think of school safety, our school district is concerned about the safety of all our students. With the increased use of technology by students, especially among our digital learners studying at home, there is increased potential for cyberbullying.
October is National Bullying Prevention Awareness Month, and bullying is an issue our teachers, counselors and administrators raise awareness about year-round. Here are a few things you should know about cyberbullying, and how to help your child.
What is cyberbullying? It is when a child is threatened, humiliated or harassed by another person through technology. This form of bullying can happen by text, instant message, email or video-conference FaceTime calls, or social media.
What should you do as a parent? Talk with your children to ensure they understand it never is OK to be bullied or to bully others — whether in person or online. Encourage them to report it to their school — they can tell a teacher, a counselor, an administrator or a school police officer. It also is important to encourage our children to report when they see someone else being bullied or cyberbullied. Reports of bullying, or any other safety concerns, not only can be made by talking to a teacher or staff member, they can be reported using our SafeSchools Alert system, which also allows you to make an anonymous report.
What other advice should you give to your children about cyberbullying? Do not respond to the bullying texts, emails, FaceTime calls or posts. Take screenshots of all evidence of cyberbullying Never send any nude photos of yourself to anyone, or forward any nude photos of others — this can lead to your arrest and registration as a sex offender. Tell your parents or another trusted adult, like a teacher or counselor, about any cyberbullying you experience, or that you witness happening to others. Cyberbullying is just as serious as bullying in person, and can lead to the bully being banned from social media platforms, disciplined at school and/or arrested on criminal charges.
How does SafeSchools work? Through SafeSchools Alert, you can submit safety concerns to Cherokee County School District five ways.
- Call 470-315-9171.
- Text 470-315-9171.
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Message online at https://cherokee-ga.safeschoolsalert.com.
- Through the mobile app. Download the SafeSchools Alert app for free from the iPhone App Store and Google Play for Android phones. The app icon is a life preserver. The first time you open the app after downloading, you’ll need to enter 1695 for the ID and confirm your district is the Cherokee County School District. SafeSchools Alert is monitored closely, but it does not replace the need to call 911 in an emergency.
By Barbara P. Jacoby, contributing writer and Chief Communications Officer for the Cherokee County School District.