Schools successfully use the No Bully System® to stop cyberbullying just as any other form of bullying. In fact in many cases a student who is cyberbullied is also being targeted on your campus through more traditional F2F bullying.
Teach your students how to stop cyberbullying
The best remedy for cyberbullying is to invest in its prevention.
- Set aside twenty minutes when you teach a module on cyberbullying to all your elementary students and middle/high school students. Download these modules to cover how to recognize cyberbullying and what students can do when it happens. Spanish language versions available for download below.
- Invest in curriculum that promotes social and emotional learning, media literacy and download the free modules from CommonSense Education on digital citizenship.
Enroll parents and guardians in making online bully-free
Help your students resolve cyberbullying both on and off your school campus
Even if you are teaching students and parents about prevention, incidents of cyberbullying may still occur. Cyberbullying compromises a student’s ability to learn and, even though schools are not legally bound to address bullying that takes place off-campus, the drama is likely to spill on to campus and affect your school culture. Use this flowchart to guide you in how to respond.
The First Amendment does not prevent you from stopping cyberbullying
A series of Supreme Court cases has established that schools cannot suspend a student from school for cyberbullying that occurred off-campus unless it created substantial disruption to the school’s operation. However that does not restrict your ability to talk to your students about the emotional harm that their actions cause and to run a Solution Team® for the target.
Data in cyberspace is ephemeral. Take a screen shot immediately you encounter any malicious or hurtful images or words. Ask students and parents to do the same. Keep all evidence provided by the target. Sequester computers and take custody of cell phone if you have reasonable cause.
Report criminal threats to the police
In every jurisdiction the criminal code applies to children and adolescents, though typically there are special accommodations for juveniles. Cyberbullying may in extreme situations amount to a breach of criminal law. For instance if a student has made a real threat to kill or cause great bodily injury to another person. Sexting may trigger child pornography laws against the dissemination of sexual images of children. If you suspect that a cyberbullying incident has reached a criminal level, consult with your school resource officer or local law enforcement personnel.
Follow the No Bully System®
Offer the target of cyberbullying a Solution Team® as an informal resolution process. For a flowchart on the best practice for responding for cyberbullying download below.