New law focuses on cyber-bullying

By Holly Brantley

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - Missouri schools now have to add the terms 'cyber-bullying', and 'electronic communications' to their anti-bullying policies.

Students and administrators say cyber-bullying continues to be a growing problem.

"It starts with a ripple-effect," said David Watts, a senior at Cape Central. "You post something on your status and people some something about that person and by the time it's over you end up with something you don't really want to hear about yourself or your friends."

Often the comments stem from sites like facebook.

"I have seen thing that have lead to fights at school or in the parking lot," said Lessley Dennington.

"Parents expect to know their son or daughter is safe at school," said Dr. Mike Cowan, principal of Cape Central High School.

Dr. Cowan says they don't tolerate cyber-bullies on Cape Central's campus.

"If it all takes place totally away from campus there's not much we can do," said Dr. Cowan. "But if it in anyway involves the school day or cause stress for students we have the authority and obligation to intervene."

HE SAYS ADDING THE WORDS CYBER BULLYI

He says the new law could make a different. While lawyers say it doesn't really change the legal implications of bullying, it puts and emphasis on following the rules.

"The state and the country as a whole is concerned about circumstances that have come out of the abuse of technology," said Dr. Cowan.

Students say online bullying has become too easy and they are happy to see schools take a stand against it because words can leave emotional and physical scars.

"People pick sides and you do see a lot of fights," said senior, Will Anderson.

"I think it's a good idea they are cracking down," said Logan Young, a senior. "All the bullying does it start fights."

Changes to the state policy go into effect Friday.

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