Education

Johnston County schools expanding policy on cyber-bullying

Posted May 3, 2012

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— The Johnston County Board of Education is expected to vote later this month on a measure that would toughen the district's policy on cyber-bullying.

Students are already subject to school discipline if online bullying takes place on school property, but a proposal being considered by the board would subject students to punishment if they are found to have violated school policy while off-campus.

"We take bullying very seriously," Johnston County Schools spokeswoman Terri Sessoms said. "Just as we take the safety of our students and staff very seriously."

A draft of the policy on Internet use addresses messages and posts that attack or harass students and staff members with respect to race, religion, gender and sexual orientation.

Students would also be subject to discipline for posting Internet messages that threaten violence against staff members or use lewd, obscene or sexually suggestive language or images.

It's still unclear when the policy would take effect, if it is approved, but school administrators say it would be in place before the start of school in the fall.

The board is set to vote on it at its May 14 meeting.

Johnston schools could expand cyber-bullying policy Johnston schools could expand cyber-bullying policy

Sessoms said the school system has received some complaints from parents who are concerned that their children have been targeted on social media sites, such as Facebook and Twitter.

Last February, two students at South Johnston High School were arrested after allegedly setting up Facebook pages and posting comments to intimidate a 15-year-old classmate.

One of the students posted that he planned to carry a gun to school to hunt down the teen.

Bernita Dunn says her 14-year-old son, William Chappell, has never experienced bullying online but she welcomes the policy.

"(Students) might be feeling like they're probably being harmed for being themselves," Dunn said. "You don't know what could be happening behind closed doors. But it's something that that needs to be looked into."

Jennifer Littlejohn, a junior at Smithfield-Selma High School, agrees.

"People do have the right to freedom of speech, however, if it poses an initial threat on someone else, I think that actions should be taken to prevent those," she said.

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  • gsmusty May 4, 2012

    Thats because you are AWAkeMom, and not AJoCoMom. BoE does not necessarily control anything down here, but they have a lot of influence and plenty of favors to call in when they need it. As has been demonstrated by the McNamara case. If you knew more about it, you would see it.

  • AWakeMom May 4, 2012

    kellbell33 -- I had no idea that the BOE controls law enforcement -- guess you learn something new everyday.

  • kellbell33 May 4, 2012

    The BOE can't control what the coach did, if in fact he did anything at all. So why blame them?

    what they can control is the way the investigation is being handled.

  • gsmusty May 4, 2012

    The BOE is exactly the same as a head coach for any professional sports team. The team loses alot (Bobcats) and its the coach (BOE)that gets fired, not the players (everyone the BOE supervises). They are at the top of the chain. They are responsible for everything that goes on in the county school system. They make the rules, set the agendas, cover up whatever incidents need covering up, sweep whatever incidents that need sweeping under the rug and so on. The BOE answers to no one but the voters on election day. They rule with impunity. Therefore everything that happens on their watch, they are responsible for, regardless if they have met someone or not.

  • AWakeMom May 4, 2012

    kellbell33 -- my point wasn't directed at being innocent or guilty - my point is - how is the BOE supposed to be held accountable for the actions of another adult that they more than likely have never met?

    I think that for the most part the general public doesn't understand how school systems operate. Parents put precious on a bus, and expect everything to turn out alright, without really contributing to the cause. And you can blame the BOE of ANY system for anything you don't like - but in reality they're a group of people sitting in a room somewhere trying to please a mess load of people they don't know.

    When did society start shifting the blame for all that's gone wrong to the educational system?? Step up and take accountability for YOUR OWN ACTIONS.

    The BOE can't control what the coach did, if in fact he did anything at all. So why blame them?

  • kellbell33 May 4, 2012

    So let me get this right. Because the coach was recommended, drug tested, background check ran and hired as an employee, then later made a choice that he got busted at, to which he was fired for -- the BOE should be held accountable??? He coach is an adult. Chances are the BOE and the coach have never even met.

    Thats like saying the CEO of Wal-Mart should be held accountable when the door greeter in Clayton is rude....seriously.
    AWakeMom

    He hasn't been busted for anything. And he isn't fired. AND there is no evidence. The cops aren't investigating anything. Haven't even questioned him regarding this matter. There is no case. There is no evidence. Period. Get your facts straight.

  • AWakeMom May 4, 2012

    "students arent supposed to have access to social media sites while at school."

    LOL -- that is a laughable statement. Students DON'T have access to social media sites at school - not on school computers anyway. Then how do they have access during the day, one might ask -- SMART PHONES!!!! I have personally wittnessed (just today as a matter of fact) that when a phone that a child isn't even supposed to have on school property is taken away, and the parent has to come to the school to pick it up, it is simply handed RIGHT BACK TO THE CHILD!!! Administrators try to do their jobs, the PARENT needs to do their job!!

  • AWakeMom May 4, 2012

    "The fact that they aren't held to any accountability to anyone for decisions they make is unheard of." - kellbell33

    So let me get this right. Because the coach was recommended, drug tested, background check ran and hired as an employee, then later made a choice that he got busted at, to which he was fired for -- the BOE should be held accountable??? He coach is an adult. Chances are the BOE and the coach have never even met.

    Thats like saying the CEO of Wal-Mart should be held accountable when the door greeter in Clayton is rude....seriously.

  • kermit60 May 4, 2012

    Sounds like there are alot of parents who want the school to take care of there problems for them. They are either affraid to confront a bully, there parents or the school or they just dont't care enough about their kids. If you can't do right for your children then maybe you should not of had them.

  • kellbell33 May 4, 2012

    The Johnston County School Board is a J O K E. The way they are handling the Coach MacNamara case at Corinth Holders High School is a prime example. The fact that they aren't held to any accountability to anyone for decisions they make is unheard of.

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