Freedom High School is taking on Cyberbullying with proactive measures in order to reduce the number of fights associated with Facebook and other social media sites.
According to the Contra Costa Times piece by Rowena Coetsee on November 3, there were nine on-campus fights during the first five weeks of school, at least seven began when a teen used the website to post an insult. High school administrators suspended 15 students in the brawls.
In response, rather than blocking the site (which is easily accessed by phones) like Liberty Union High School District did, Freedom is taking a different approach that I can respect. This approach includes:
- Johnny Rodriguez, Non-profit, One Day At a Time
- Peer Counseling
- Anger Management sessions
- Planning of Facebook 1010 Seminar for parents
I tip my hat to the administration for finding the correlation and being proactive in order to prevent future altercations. It’s very easy to take the words someone types and misinterpret the meaning or supposed sarcasm.
Fighting over the internet is pointless and a complete waste of time. I’ve taken the stance that when this occurs or I see myself heading in that direction either on Facebook or emails, it’s time to sign off and give it the “24-hr rule” because I am not interested in winning a debate with someone who is acting like a moron over the internet—that is what a meeting is for. With high school students, they do not easily let go and seek instant retaliation.
Again, while these programs are wonderful and improve the community, we need to ask about the cost associated with these proactive measures.
While I understand Johnny Rodriquez has a non-profit, is his time donated or is he being paid? If he is being paid, what is the rate and for how long? Are the additional programs that are being added donated or is it paid for in the form of a grant? Are these programs a one-time blitz or will they return next year?
This is a great first step by Freedom High. As a community, we should work together to make it a much larger program (seek out funding) and insert these services to all of our schools each year. It will bring down violence and make the community stronger.
It should also be noted, a state bill enacted in July allows schools to suspend students for bullying others on social networking sites—the bill holds schools more accountable. Starting next year, school districts must adopt and post anti-bullying policies in visible places around their campuses. In addition, employees will have deadlines for handling harassment complaints, will be required to intervene when they see bullying and must receive training in how to prevent it.