In the first week of my appointment to the Board of Education, I was faced with an unthinkable situation where a high school student in my district was assaulted on campus and videos of the assault were posted on several different social media websites for both students and others to view and share. From that day forward, I promised that student, and her mother, that I would be an advocate for them to combat the culture of cyberbullying in our society and our schools.
When I was in middle and high school, I had my own experiences with being bullied but despite the emotional pains I had, it does not compare to the humiliation of having a video or a social media post shared to hundreds of people, anytime…anywhere. For me, it was a brief statement from one person at the lunch table or on the bus - but now, with the culture of social media fame, students are recording bullying incidents and sharing them publicly in the quest for retweets and post shares or shaming students with Twitter Polls.
As a Member of the Board of Education, I vow to support the establishment of an Anti-Cyberbullying Campaign in all of our high schools that is developed and implemented by each school’s Student Government Association. This is a cultural battle that cannot be fixed with a policy, but with positive peer pressure.
Our best advocates for this cause are our students and it is about time that policymakers understand and embrace the power of the student voice
and perspective in combating a culture of which they know best.