Hi Representative Brownsberger,
With all of the news coverage on bullying, and calls for new legislation, I’d like to put my 2 cents out there. I see a lot of angry people calling for the heads of school officials and teachers who supposedly allowed the bullying to go on under their noses.
In several instances it is absolutely conceivable that warning signs at school went unheeded or unnoticed by staff. However, in almost every instance of bullying that we hear about–even if it is face-to-face and personal–there is (or has been) an online element (usually through facebook, myspace or some other online forum).
It is unrealistic to assume that school staff can be aware of what goes on in the digital lives of the students, and holding teachers or administrators accountable for cyberbullying is just not fair, even if physical acts of bullying take place at school. In fact, at every school that I know about, facebook, myspace and other sites are blocked.
We need to press for more education in the realm of cyberbullying for parents, students and teachers, but I would like to urge my legislators to be thoughtful about the direction of any legislation regarding this matter.