Cyber-Bullying in Missouri Schools

Patricia Hawke

Back in the day, the school bull would lock you in your locker or pick on you on your walk home from school. Now a day, bullying is a lot less physical. Unfortunately, with the creation of the Internet, bullies are starting to mentally bully kids through online threats and constant negative communication through programs such as MySpace, Facebook, Formspring, text messaging, e-mail and Internet chats. The Missouri school boards association added Cyber Bullying to its school policy and has since seen a decrease in cyber bullying.
The schools are working on being able to punish kids who cyber bully others, even from their home. This has concerned a lot of people that say the school has no right to monitor kids at home. That is a pretty big power for the schools to take on. As the majority of cyber-bullying does happen after school hours, when the kids get home from school and start to surf the web. They go on their MySpace, instant messaging and Facebook and get threatened by the cyber bullies. This makes the kids scared to go to school and mentally worried and stressed everyday. This is a huge strain on the students and sometimes in extreme cases, leads to suicide.
The schools are trying to crack down on this because they don’t want their students affected by cyber bullies. In a way, the at home bullying is directly related to school in that both of the students attend that same school and the student being bullied is fearful of attending school. Since this is so related to the school, why shouldn’t the school have rights to monitor this outside of school? If this new law was started to protect our students and keep the safe from cyber bullying at school and at home, how does the school having more power really affect us negatively?
People are more concerned with the fact that they think the school has no right to monitor what the kids do outside of school hours. This would be a normal statement for anyone to make, but by punishing students for bullying others outside of school would only do good. The only thing that this use of more power might do is give the schools a feeling that they can start to control more of what the kids do outside of school. That would become a freedom issue and negatively affect the students by making them feel like they are always at school and constantly monitored, hindering their independence. Monitoring cyber bulling outside of school is not an abuse of power but a program designed to protect our children and bring cyber bullying to a reality. It does happen and sometimes it is fatal.
By adding anti cyber bullying into the schools policy it bring cyber bullying to peoples attention making parents, teachers and students more aware of it. At the very least, adding it into the policy might help a parent monitor their kid’s online activities better and prevent cyber bullying from happening to their children. 
Patricia Hawke is a staff writer for Schools K-12, providing free, in-depth reports on all U.S. public and private K-12 schools. For more information please visit  Missouri School Ratings and Public School Rankings