How schools can really fight cyberbullying

Twelve-year-olds are just about the scariest human beings on the planet. And if you thought your own middle school years were hellish, remember, at least you didn’t have Facebook. As a stomach-churning story in Sunday’s New York Times makes clear — the Internet is making it easier than ever for the Nelson Muntzes of the world to do their dirty work, and schools are struggling to figure out how to protect their kids while protecting their privacy. The ongoing challenge is — how responsible are educators for the terrible things kids do on their own time? If a sixth grader is sending out “shocking, sexually explicit threats” to another student on a phone on a Saturday night, what recourse does a school community have?As states scramble to put more laws on the books to “protect children from bullying when school administrators fail to address the issue” and the media are rife with reports on the dwindling empathy of the young, easy solutions are hard to come by.

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