The Milford School District held their monthly Principal’s Chat on Monday, February 7 at the Milford Central Academy. The meeting was hosted by Principal Mark McDaniel and School Resource Officer Joey Melvin. It was aimed at educating parents and students about Milford School District’s Bullying Policy and the problems of Cyberbullying.
Principal McDaniel reviewed the district wide policy with parents as he described the definition of bullying, introduced the school-wide Bully Prevention Program and explained implementation of school policy. Dr. McDaniel acknowledged that “a safe learning environment is necessary for students to learn and achieve high standards.”
Teachers and administrators are doing what they can to prevent all types of bullying at school but it is the new age of bullying that has many concerned. The Milford Central Academy’s Parent Guide to Cyberbullying & Cyberthreats defines cyberbullying as “being cruel to others by sending or posting harmful material or engaging in other forms of social aggression using the internet or other digital technologies.” Since most of the time cyberbullying is not done on school grounds it is difficult for school officials to enforce school policy when dealing with incidents.
“The challenging part is there has to be a connection between the bullying and school. Unless there is a connection our hands are tied,” stated Principal McDaniel. Although the bullying may not be directly linked to school it can affect how students learn and associate with others at school.
School Resource Officer Joey Melvin stated to parents that 90% of what he deals with comes from incidents on the social network site Facebook. Officer Melvin warns that even if students feel that they are joking with other students it can many times be defined as cyberbullying. “I have kids in my office who do not understand that they are bullying other students, they believe they are just having fun with them. The problem is that students may be upset and afraid to tell their classmates,” commented Officer Melvin.
For this reason the district has set up an email address where students can anonymously report bullying that has been done to them or another student. The email address is email@example.com and is checked by School Resource Officer Melvin and Principals daily. Officer Melvin has also created a Facebook page to inform parents and students about what is happening at the schools that can be found at Milford Resource Office Facebook.
Cyberbullying needs to be prevented on two fronts; at the schools and at home. Office Melvin offered tips for helping child from becoming a victim of cyberbullying or bullying themselves. Email addresses and Facebook accounts should be created and monitored by parents and internet access should be limited to one hour a day. On Facebook, parents should have to approve friends and pictures that are allowed on their students’ site. Any personal information such as phone number or address should be left off the page and not shared with others.
“Parents need to investigate the social networks their children are on. Learn about how these sites operate and what features they offer. A lot of parents do not even know that their children are on these sites. Parents must get involved,” stated Office Melvin.
For more information on cyberbullying and school policy contact School Resource Officer Melvin at 302-430-7918 or JMelvin@msd.k12.de.us.