Cyber bullying on the rise, local school partners with Homeland Security

Special Reports
cyber bullying web pic.PNG

Homeland Security partner with Harlingen CISD to address cyber bullying. Photo credit KGBT

As school starts, students as young as elementary school are going to class with cell phones – and internet access. That means there’s a chance cyber bullies can target your child. Harlingen CISD is now working with the Department of Homeland Security to educate the community, and crack down on it.

Researching school projects, staying connected with family.

For many students, having a cell phone is as common as having a notepad.

“They use their phones constantly. It’s just a different age we live in,” said Lori Romero, Assistant Superintendent for elementary education Harlingen CISD.

But giving kids access to the online world can also give cyber bullies access to your child.

Sandra Tovar, Director of Guidance and Counseling, says cyber bullying can be more damaging than face-to-face or physical bullying.

“It’s done anonymously and you don’t really know for sure who is doing the bullying. It’s difficult to go back and track. Law enforcement can go back and track who that person is, but you know the regular person who’s just online and using whatever they’re using right? They can claim to be anybody and it’s not really them.”

Cyber bullies target students by email, apps, and social media profiles. It can happen 24 hours a day.

“We don’t realize that there’s so many apps children can use. You have to know where to look,’ Romero added.

Bullies can share personal information and negative, mean, or hurtful content which can create permanent public record of the victims lives.

A digital footprint that can be accessible to schools, employers, colleges.

Most cyber bullying cases are a punishable offense – students found to be bullying others can be disciplined on campus, or even removed.

“Once we get any type of report, we do an investigation and depending on how that investigation comes out then we move forward with those findings,” Romero explained.

from minor to severe bullying reports.

Cyber bullying is difficult to identify because teachers and parents may not overhear or see cyberbullying happening.

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