Cyber Bullying taking over schools

Cyber Bullying taking over schools
YAKIMA, Wash.-- Some schools here in the Yakima Valley are trying to tackle bullying in this electronic age. We showed you internet video of high school students forced to fight and local web pages dedicated to humiliating teenage girls. A junior high school has a computer class that goes after cyber bullying.

Rebecca Zellner has seen what cyber-bullying can do to a kid. Her autistic son was ridiculed on Facebook.

"People have said rude things to him," she said. "Very mean things: calling him stupid, an idiot, a retard."

Schools are overwhelmed with the problem.

"Cyber bullying, I would say, is maybe the biggest issue we deal with as far as bullying," Nick Hartman, the Junior High Counselor and Computer Essentials teacher said.

West Valley Junior High took action to help students understand the consequences of cyber bullying before they even start. Every 7th grade student here must take a computer essentials course. A lot of it focuses on social media etiquette and internet safety.

"It's actually a really, really good thing to have because these kids are now learning what's acceptable and what's not acceptable," Zellner said.

"Bullying used to stop when the bell rings or when you get off your bus and it's over but for kids now, cyber bullying, it goes all day, it goes all night," Hartman said. "It never sleeps."

When it does happen, schools can deal with students if it's effecting the learning environment or if someone turns in a screen grab of online bullying. In some cases, administrators call police when the harassment it taking place away from school. They say parents are the best enforcers, especially those who know their kids' passwords and watch what they do online.

"I monitor who he has friends with and I also monitor where he is going on the computer," Zellner said.

They are keeping tabs on activity to make sure the internet provides opportunities to climb higher rather than being put down.

West Valley Junior High's computer essentials course is being paid for using the district's Science, Technology, Engineering and Math grant. Students in the Yakima School District take an internet orientation course. Librarians teach students about the impact of cyber-bullying.