Online Bullying Concerns

Florida students are bullied daily. Students say bullying at school is all too common but alerting school administrators is not as popular.

This past legislative session, state lawmakers passed a law prohibiting online bullying. It bans any type of online bullying that interferes with a students learning environment.

Sen. Dwight Bullard said, “At the end of the day it’s a tool in the toolbox to help deal with what we know is an alarming issue.”

In a meeting Tuesday morning, the same lawmakers who helped pass the bill– questioned how effective it’s been.

Sen. Maria Sachs said, “What do we have in the law today that will enable or empower our schools?”

A major concern lawmakers want answers to is what legal authorities does a district have in gaining access to a cell phone or computer to access a students social networking sites.

School Districts across the state have been required to implement their own rules against online bullying. But, school officials say the main thing is to keep students safe.

Sen. Bill Montford with the Florida Assoc. of District School Superintendents said, “To do this it takes a combined effort of everyone. That’s the teachers in the schools and the students and parents as well.”

The law passed this year is an extension of the Jeffrey Johnson Act which required all districts to adopt a policy banning bullying and harassment.

Its estimated 28% of students are bullied at school.

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