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Schools take steps to fight cyberbullying
Cox, Bobby new mugshot.jpg
Bobby Cox

Reading, writing and online bullying.

The challenges facing school systems across the country continue to grow, especially considering the amount of time today’s children spend with a cellphone in front of their face.

With the start of school less than two weeks away in Warren County on Aug. 7, Director of Schools Bobby Cox says a continuing concern is monitoring how students behave on social media. This can include sending damaging photos, videos, or text messages.

“Social media can be good and we use it for many things, but it can also be harmful,” said Cox. “It’s an outlet for people to say things they normally wouldn’t say to someone in person and with it being social media it can spread very fast.” 

A recent survey by the National Center for Education Statistics showed 21% of girls in middle and high school reported being bullied online or by text message in the 2016-17 school year, compared with about 7% of boys.

At the local level, Cox agreed his experience is that more girls are targeted by online bullying than boys.

Cyberbullying is not just an after-school occurrence. Cellphones are permitted on the WCHS campus during the school day and cellphone use is permitted at local elementary schools at the discretion of the principal.

“Nowadays everybody has a cellphone,” said Cox.

To help combat the problem, the school system paid $4,500 for an app called Stop It. The app can be downloaded for free by students in grades 6-12 and it gives them quick access to school officials so students can easily convey an offensive post or video.

The new app complements a text-a-tip number that’s been in effect for a couple years. The technology is a plus, but Cox said the best prevention is building trust between students and faculty members.

“The more students build relationships with staff members and the more they feel comfortable talking with them, that’s where we get the bulk of our information,” said Cox.