Abilene ISD takes proactive approach to cyber-bullying

POSTED: 4:23 PM Oct 16 2013   UPDATED: 8:16 PM Oct 16 2013
ABILENE, Texas -

Teachers and parents are no longer only dealing with the typical school yard fight or spat in the cafeteria.

Bullying has a taken a whole new meaning. Cyberbullying is center stage in many places. Last month, a 12 year-old girl in central Florida jumped to her death from a tower at an abandoned concrete plant and up to 15 kids cyberbullied her. Two girls ages 12 and 14 were arrested. Officers say one of the suspects has shown no remorse for the deceased girl.  

Abilene school district administrators said they can’t control everything kids do. Being proactive is key in the school putting a stop to these actions from students.

“The case in Florida that has gotten a bunch of national attention is a wake up call,” Abilene Independent School District Director of Communications Phillip Ashby said. "It used to be the neighborhood fight ended up disrupting the school day, because they would be in the same school. Now with cyberbullying those problems are so much more widespread."

Cyberbullying is no longer just about computers anymore. It’s more about mobile devices.

"Your child may have no issues on their Facebook site, but they may be having issues on another site and you can't just ignore new apps that have been put on your child's phones,” Craig Middle School Principal Dan Dukes said.

AISD High Schools allows cell phones during the passing periods and lunch hour. However, even much younger kids now have smart phones. Principal Dukes said their best strategy is to get ahead of the cyberbullying problem.

"We talk about the laws,” Dukes said. “We talk about the consequences that come in a serious situation in which you are the bully."

Another tactic that Craig Middle School uses is workshops with their school resource officers to better explain the consequences. The person responsible could have criminal charges of harassment which could mean up to 10 years in prison In worst case scenarios, it could cost the victim their life.