December 20, 2014 at 2:11 am

Study: Cyber bullying highest during holidays – KERO

Most students around the county began their winter break today, which means a lot of kids will have plenty of free time on their hands. While most assume that students will enjoy the season at home with family, experts warn the holidays can be devastating for students.

The holiday season has shown to be problematic for students as cyber bullying goes on the rise during the holidays.

Experts say more than half may be taunted by school bullies in the comfort of their own homes.

“Students are on their devices all the time, so now they have more free time on their hands. Parents should be aware of what social media sites their kids are on,” said Stacey Stansberry, Education Technology Coordinator.

Experts say parents should establish an open line of communication so they are comfortable turning to you in times of crisis.

According to recent statistics, more than 50 percent of adolescents and teens have been bullied online; more than 1 in 3 have experienced cyber threats online; and the majority of cyberbullying goes unreported to parents and school officials.

“Sometimes kids say stuff social media they wouldn’t normally say in person. Because they don’t see the physical reaction, they don’t know the harm they are causing to that other person,” said Stansberry.

Oksana Swen, senior in high school, was first bullied when she was in junior high school during winter break.

“They said so many terrible things to me and I couldn’t take my anger out on them, so I ended up harming myself,” said Swen.

Swen felt all alone, but finally told her parents, who got her the support she needed. They started a local support group called Student Unite Against Bullying.

“Kids now days need human contact. That’s what’s wrong with social media, it takes away from that human contact,” said Swen.

Swen advises parents not to let the computer or handheld device babysit their kids while they are busy running around during the holidays.

“I know from experience that cyber bullying goes up during the winter break. I would say to those kids who bully other kids, stop being a coward hiding behind a computer saying things that are hurtful to others.” said Swen.

The following are a list of some signs that your child may be a target of cyber bullying:

• Unexpectedly stops using their device

• Appears nervous or jumpy when using their device

• Is over sleeping or not sleeping enough

• Becomes abnormally withdrawn from usual friends and family members

• Seems regularly depressed and makes passing statements about suicide or the meaninglessness of life.

Resources for parents:

Cyberbullying Research Center;

http://cyberbullying.us/resources/parents/

Reporting cyber bullying;

http://cyberbullying.us/report/

Student Unite Against Bullying

https://m.facebook.com/profile.php?id=136668936450985

Like Mark Christian on Facebook to stay up-to-date with the stories he covers in our community -

www.facebook.com/MarkChristian23ABC

http://www.turnto23.com/news/local-news/study-cyber-bullying-highest-during-holidays

at 2:11 am

Human Rights Commission to sue Brunswick schools over bullying – WCSH

Human Rights Commission to sue Brusnswick schools over bullying.

http://www.wcsh6.com/story/news/local/2014/12/19/brunswick-school-bullying-case-human-rights/20665619/

December 19, 2014 at 8:11 pm

How much violence, bullying was reported in your N.J. school?

A new state Department of Education report finds New Jersey public schools became safer last year, with less violence and substance abuse.

The annual report released Tuesday finds a continuing trend of fewer reported major behavioral problems at schools.

There were 19,000 total reported incidents of violence, weapons, substance abuse, vandalism and bullying in the 2013-14 school year, down 9 percent from the previous year.

There were 1,000 reports of weapons on campus during the year but just six of them involved guns. The overwhelming majority were knives, razor blades and other bladed instruments.

The report also found that the most common substance abuse problem was the use of marijuana at school.

***

How did your district do?

The New Jersey Department of Education released figures of self-reported problems at school districts during the 2013-14 school year.

Check out how your school district ranked by typing in the name below. Or compare the school districts in your county by selecting an option in the drop-down menu.

http://www.lehighvalleylive.com/newjersey/2014/12/how_much_violence_bullying_was.html

at 8:11 pm

SPASH Students Push to End Bullying Among Younger Grades




A group of students at SPASH promotes bullying prevention through peer education.

Bullies have evolved with the digital age, terrorizing kids outside the classroom through cellphones and social media but one group of students in Stevens Point hopes to stop the issue before it starts using a process called peer education.

Incidents in school hallways around the country inspired the Family, Career And Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) to host the “Positive Impact Project.”

FCCLA officers Keisha Kavalauskas and Jenessa Gilarski developed the program over the better part of a year.

“We began thinking about it and planning it actually last school year, so it’s been in the works for awhile,” said Gilarski, a SPASH senior. “Since then we’ve visited four elementary schools and we plan for one more.”

The students present an hour long presentation with audience interaction, discussion, and “A Day in the Life of Vicki and Eugene,” a play by retired teach Laurel Hoeth, showing the various ways bullies target their victims.

“We do activities with the [students] where they realize that they’re not the only ones who can go through these hard times,” Gilarski said. “It’s something they can do something about, they’re not the only one and they’re not the only one who wants a change.”

“We decided the best place that we would try to make an impact was at the 5th and 6th grade level where they are noticing [bullying],” said Brett Lesniak, the FCCLA adviser for SPASH. ‘It’s having an impact on them and hopefully they can change the behavior now so when they get four years older, it doesn’t get under the radar.”

The topic hits close to home for many of the students involved in the presentation.

“I see it in the hallways of SPASH,” Kavalauskas, a senior said. “It really makes me want to take a step forward and not just be a bystander but take an initiative to prevent it.”

Each presentation ends with the students being asked to join in with in an anti-bullying pledge but the elementary kids aren’t the only ones learning.

“A lot of us didn’t even know each other before we began this so we were kind of strangers,” Gilarski said. “We don’t all wear the same clothes and dress alike, we’re a very diverse group actually and through this experience we’ve gotten to know each other.”

“We often hear stories about teenagers, and the negative things they’re doing,” Lesniak said. “It’s neat to see a group of students, and the effect they’ve had on everybody and they’re so positive.”

“I’ve learned how much of an issue bullying is in our community and how much we need to make an effort to prevent it,” Kavalauskas said.

“We can make a difference,” Gilarski said. “Hopefully these younger generations will really take to heart what we’re saying and teaching them so they can apply this to their lives in school.”

http://www.wsaw.com/home/headlines/SPASH-Students-Push-to-End-Bullying-Among-Younger-Grades-286338521.html

at 2:11 pm

Winner of Albany’s anti-bullying campaign to be announced Friday

ALBANY, N.Y. – Students in the Albany School District have been working on a project to stop bullying since October.

The winner of the “Don’t Be a Bully Campaign” will be announced on Friday.

Students have been asked to design anti-bully posters. The winning poster will be displayed on an electronic billboard along I-90.

A press conference is scheduled for 4 p.m. at Washington Park to announce the winner. Afterwards, the students and their families will be treated to a trolley ride through the Capital Holiday Lights in the Park.

http://news10.com/2014/12/19/winner-of-albanys-anti-bullying-campaign-to-be-announced-friday/

at 2:11 pm

New Jersey anti-bullying message sinking in, superintendents say

RELATED: How much violence, bullying was reported in your N.J. school?

A reported fall in violence in New Jersey schools is a sign anti-bullying measures are taking hold in students’ minds, area superintendents say.

The state Education Department this week released its annual violence and vandalism report. Providing an accounting of reported incidents from every school district in New Jersey, the report has included a category for bullying the last three years.

“I think that you’re starting to see three years of reinforcing that: that this is becoming part of the culture, that (bullying) is not acceptable,” said Warren Hills Regional School District Superintendent Thomas Altonjy.

Overall, it seems local districts were pleased with what they saw in the 2013-14 school year report. The 19,000 statewide total instances of violence, weapons, substance abuse, vandalism and bullying represented a 9 percent drop from the previous year.

District leaders independently said bullying in particular has been a focus, and lessons are especially reinforced with students at an early age.

“They really stress to students that they have to be responsible for their actions,” Phillipsburg schools Superintendent George Chando said. That district saw a decline in categories across the board in this week’s report.

“If they see something, say something. We’ve been trying to instill that in our students,” said Maren Smagala, spokeswoman for the North Hunterdon-Voorhees Regional High School District, which the report indicated saw an overall decline in incidents.

Altonjy, Chando and Smagala all said their districts try to find new ways to present the message, to avoid it becoming stale.

The process doesn’t stop everything, though. This week, three bullets were found in a Warren Hills classroom, and an alleged bomb threat cancelled classes for a day at Warren County Technical School. No charges were filed as of Thursday in either case.

School officials say there is more that should be taken into account than the report’s raw data; the size and makeup of a district plays a role, too.

“It’s not just the numbers,” Smagala said. “I think you want to look at the policies and procedures” a district has in place.

http://www.lehighvalleylive.com/newjersey/2014/12/nj_report_shows_anti-bullying.html

at 2:11 pm

Fairfield superintendent: Rumors of bullying in teen’s suicide not true

The Fairfield City Schools superintendent has sent a letter to district parents addressing a teen student’s suicide.

Middle school student Emilie Olsen, 13, took her own life last Thursday after allegedly being bullied.

“I write this letter with a very heavy heart,” Superintendent Paul Otten’s letter begins. “We all share in this loss. Please know my thoughts and prayers are with each of you as we seek to cope with such a sudden passing of one of our own.”

Olsen’s parents told WLWT News 5 that their daughter had been bullied in the past, but they thought the issues were resolved.

“I spent the first 18 hours after I found my daughter passed away, crying,” said Marc Olsen, Emilie’s father.

“Sadly, I feel compelled to address the many rumors and false reports which have surfaced surrounding the passing of Emilie,” Otten’s letter continues. “The Fairfield Township Police Department conducted a thorough investigation and did not find any credible evidence that bullying was a factor in this tragedy.”

Read Superintendent Otten’s letter

Cindy Olsen, Emilie’s mother, said her daughter was called names, pushed down and tripped at school.

“Our teachers and administrators work daily to teach all students positive behavior and to combat bullying whenever and wherever it is witnessed or reported,” Otten wrote. “That certainly does not mean there is no bullying in our schools. It would be foolish to believe that.”

Otten went on to say that the district received several calls and emails from people upset to hear about the situation.

“In most cases, they simply do not have correct information,” he wrote. “They share things they have heard and have reached conclusions which simply are not true.”

Marc Olsen said he was accused of causing a problem when he asked administrators about his daughter’s bullying after her death.

“They say it’s causing a stir. I’m stirring the pot. If stirring the pot by looking for answers on why my daughter is dead is a problem, it’s a problem for them, not for me,” Marc Olsen said.

Otten said there was an unjustified need to place blame for Emilie’s death.

“The rumors and misinformation regarding this even which are being conveyed by social and other media are negatively affecting our community, our schools and our staff,” Otten wrote.

He went on to ask for support for Olsen and her friends and family.

Marc Olsen said Emilie’s principal and the Fairfield Township police visited his home on Tuesday.

“Quite honestly, we felt intimidated a little bit. My wife did. She told me she felt bullied herself,” Marc Olsen said. “They basically said that this needs to stop. ‘The rumors need to stop.’ And I told them, ‘I’m trying to get to the truth.’”

District documents show there were 26 reports of hazing or bullying in the first six months of 2014. Thirteen of those were found to be true.

WLWT News 5 requested all bullying incident forms filed since 2012, but those have not yet been delivered.

“We certainly are not perfect, but we work relentlessly to make the lives of our students better whenever possible,” Otten said.

http://www.wlwt.com/news/fairfield-superintendent-rumors-of-bullying-in-teens-suicide-not-true/30308326

at 2:11 pm

Cyberbullying expert speaks to Cape Girardeau parents

Posted by in Cyber Bullying

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) -
On Thursday, Meier spoke to students and parents about the consequences of bullying.

Both Meier and other moms agree parenting in this age of technology can be tough.

“Their kids have been raised from the time that they can barely walk and talk to holding electronics,” Meier said. “They know how to operate iPhones, they know how to operate iPads, I mean it’s craziness.”

Christy Colyer said there’s no simple answer when it comes to giving children the freedom to use social media.

“What social media do I let them have access to, how do I monitor it? I’m just kind of not sure because I want to let them do what they want to do,” Colyer said.

However, at the same time, she doesn’t want anything bad to happen to them.

Colyer said her oldest daughter has already been a victim of cyberbullying.

“She’s had instances where kids would pretend to be her, and make a fake profile and that kind of stuff and really hurt her,” Colyer said.

Meier said that’s what she wants to end.

It’s been her mission since she lost her daughter eight years ago.

She believes the first step can come with listening.

“Kids want to be heard, and they want to know that people care and that’s the most important thing,” Meier said.

She said something as simple as validating a child’s feelings can keep them from taking their own life, and that’s a tragedy she wants no parent to have to live through.

“For me through this process it really has been that healing part knowing that I’m helping others out of something that happened to us in hopes that it doesn’t happen anymore,” Meier said.

Meier said your best bet is to take the technology away because kids will find ways around that.

She said talking with them can have a much bigger impact.

Meier said it can be helpful to teach kids how to respond to threats they may get online.

She also urges young parents to not put pictures of their child’s every move on their own personal Facebook page.

Meier said those cute baby pictures can come back to haunt them.

Copyright 2011 KFVS. All rights reserved.

http://www.kfvs12.com/story/27667149/cyberbullying-expert-speaks-to-cape-girardeau-parents

at 2:10 pm

Cyberbullying legislation sent to Gov. Snyder

Posted by in Cyber Bullying

LANSING, Mich. (AP) – Michigan school districts would have to include cyberbullying in their anti-bullying policies and report bullying data to the state under legislation going to Gov. Rick Snyder.

The House voted 64-45 to approve the requirements early Friday.

The bill is designed to address gaps in a 2011 law that requires K-12 districts and charter schools to have anti-bullying policies.

Supporters of the legislation say bullying done through social media, texting and instant messaging is probably more prevalent now than physical bullying. Opponents of the bill question how schools and the state are supposed to stop cyberbullying often done outside school grounds.

Schools already have to report bullying incidents to their local boards of education. They would be required to send the information to the Michigan Department of Education under the bill.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

http://www.fox28.com/story/27668362/cyberbullying-legislation-sent-to-gov-snyder

at 8:11 am

Anti-Bullying Programs Would Be Restored with New Legislation


California Legislature Passes New Budget

File photo

California Legislature Passes New Budget

File photo

SACRAMENTO-

A new bill aims to restore anti-bullying programs cut because of funding.

Assembly Bill 63, introduced by Concord Asm. Susan A. Bonilla, would allow for a specialized license plate available through the Department of Motor Vehicles. Funds raised from those plates would go toward those anti-bullying programs.

“No child should attend school in fear of being a victim of violence or bullying,” Bonilla said in a message from her office. “Over the years funding for programs that prevent acts of violence, bullying, or any other school crisis has severely diminished, leaving our kids at greater risk of danger.”

The bill was inspired by the death of Ronin Shimizu, the Folsom boy who committed suicide because he was bullied, according to his family.

http://fox40.com/2014/12/18/anti-bullying-programs-would-be-restored-with-new-legislation/

at 8:11 am

Dearborn Heights teen charges anti-Arab bullying at school

A freshman girl at a high school in Dearborn Heights was repeatedly bullied and then assaulted because of her Arab ethnicity, according to a civil rights complaint filed Thursday.

“They made me scared to walk in the hallways,” said Amaya Almawri, a student at Annapolis High School. “Every time I get near the school, I want to cry, I start shaking. I can’t concentrate on my homework.”

Her mother, Nagham Bazzi, said her daughter went from being an honor-roll student to not wanting to go to school, and now gets poor grades.

She was taunted about being a terrorist and having bombs in her backpack, Almawri said. A lunchroom table was pushed into her after she complained about the harassment. During a football game, a student groped her chest and on Thanksgiving Day, someone threw a brick through their family room window with a threatening note, according to the complaint filed with the Michigan Department of Civil Rights by Almwari and her mother.

They said the school, Dearborn Heights and Dearborn Heights police failed to properly investigate and deal with the incidents. Dearborn Heights Police Chief Lee Gavin did not return a call Thursday seeking comment. The principal of Annapolis High School, Dan Scott, referred comment to Carole Beverwyk, assistant superintendent of curriculum and human resources in Dearborn Heights School District No. 7.

In a statement, she said: “The safety and education of students is our top priority. The district does not tolerate bullying or harassment of students for any reason.” She said the district is not yet aware of the complaint and declined further comment.

The complaint was filed by Nabih Ayad, a Canton attorney who chairs the Arab-American Civil Rights League, against the school, school district, and police. He said the alleged failure to investigate is part of a pattern of Arab-Americans being discriminated against by authorities in the city, where they make up about 22% of the population.

While Dearborn Heights has a growing Arab-American population, the number of Arab students at Annapolis is only a handful, said Almawri. When she started this fall, students initially thought she was Hispanic, she said. After they found out she was of Arab descent, the harassment started early in the school year.

At a powderpuff football game on Nov. 7, she said she was told not to “drop the bomb” and a male student sexually assaulted her by grabbing her chest. Almwari responded by slapping him, “as any normal person would do,” said the complaint.

Almwari was suspended for five days for the incident, while the male student was suspended for two days.

After a brick smashed through their family room window on Thanksgiving morning, “it felt like a bomb went off,” said Bazzi, the mother of the student. “It was that loud. I was shaking.” It had a note that read, “Watch out.”

A third-generation American partly of Yemeni and Lebanese descent, Almawri said people who make anti-Arab remarks are ignorant of her ethnicity and Muslim faith.

“They call us terrorists because that’s what they hear on TV,” she said.

Contact Niraj Warikoo: nwarikoo@freepress.com or 313-223-4792. Follow him on Twitter @nwarikoo

http://www.freep.com/story/news/local/michigan/wayne/2014/12/18/arab-american-student-bullying-files-complaint/20615627/

at 8:11 am

Parents allege rampant bullying at Clay County school

MIDDLEBURG, Fla. (First Coast News) — Parents of a student attacked at a Clay County junior high school say they are taking their daughter out of that school, fed up with constant bullying there and what they say is a lack of response from school administrators and teachers.

Jack and Marti Gable say their daughter was attacked from behind at Wilkinson Junior High in Middleburg shortly after dismissal Wednesday afternoon. They say the school never called to tell them their daughter was injured. Her mother said she found out about it from another student. It took her 18 minutes to get to the school, but never got a call on her way there and her efforts to reach the school were unsuccessful.

“When your child is sitting in the clinic at the school and has just been viciously attacked and bleeding, the first thing they should do is have someone pick up that phone, an adult and call and let that parent know they have been injured,” Marti said.

The day after she says her daughter Logan has several signs of the attack still visible on her face. Her father is very upset that his daughter was suspended three days from school after the other girl pulled her hair and took her to the ground. He said she was suspended just minutes after the attack before they had even been contacted.

“My child was walking down the sidewalk trying to walk to the bus and she was attacked from behind. And yet you suspend my child?” said Jack. “When you are approached from behind and attacked from behind, how is that your fault? Why should you be suspended? My daughter never had a chance to do anything, she was sucker punched.”

Gable says he met with the assistant principal, who refused to lift the suspension.

Logan says a teacher nearby saw the other girl cursing her and yelling at her moments before she was attacked from behind, yet she says the teacher did nothing about it. She says when she was attacked a teacher nearby did nothing to break up the attack, her cousin had to reach in and pull the attacker off her.

Marti says this is a part of a pattern of bullying going on at this school and other parents have told her their children are being bullied every day at the school. She says parents are taking their kids out of the school because of the bullying.

“I think the teachers and the faculty are turning their heads to this issue, they don’t want to address it, I don’t understand why. It is not just my daughter. I think this is something parents need to know is happening every day.”

Gable says she is putting her daughter in another school after the holiday break.

Clay County school spokesman Gavin Rollins says the school administrators followed proper policy during this event but won’t comment on individual discipline. He says if there was a delay in calling the parents it was because school officials and teachers were trying to diffuse the situation and investigate to determine what exactly happened.

Rollins says he is unaware of students fleeing the school because of bullying there.

“If anything, enrollment is growing,” says Rollins.

Rollins told First Coast News that the Clay School District takes bullying very, very seriously. He says they have numerous programs in place to help empower students to verbally deescalate bullying and how to report it. Rollins says if a parent feels like they aren’t handling the situation at a school, they should report it to the district as soon as they can.

http://www.wtsp.com/story/news/2014/12/18/parents-allege-rampant-bullying-at-clay-county-school/20615753/

at 8:11 am

DA: Bristol Township middle school sex video may be case of incest – WPVI

Posted by in School

Police are investigating an apparent sex tape involving juveniles that has been circulating among middle school students in Bristol Township.

Bucks County District Attorney David Heckler tells Action News the video depicts middle school aged children having what appears to be sex and says it may be a case of incest.

Investigators say the video was quickly shared among Franklin D. Roosevelt Middle School students Tuesday night.

A concert was being held at the school and students were caught watching the video on cell phones.

“The safety and wellbeing of the Bristol Township School District students is always our top priority that’s why we are so disturbed by a situation that was brought to our attention yesterday,” Superintendent Sam Lee said.

The District Attorney says the two caught engaged in the sex act may have been recorded without their knowledge.

Sources say one of the two depicted in the video goes to Roosevelt.

Bristol Township Police Chief Lt. John Godzieba says it didn’t appear the video was shot on school property.

Police have confiscated at least 10 cell phones and are now beginning to conduct interviews.

“This might take a little while. It’s not going to be done overnight. There’s a lot that’s involved in this. We want to make sure we do a complete and thorough investigation on this,” Bristol Police Lt. Terry Hughes said.

A recently passed law makes it illegal for anyone under 18 to distribute nude images even if it’s between two consenting minors.

Both the person sending and receiving such images can be charged.

A letter was sent home to parents informing them of the incident.

“It’s awful. It’s really very scary. Kids that young shouldn’t even be thinking about things like that today,” parent Colleen Costello said.

“We’ve taken initiative and effort to warn our students of the dangers of the situations like this we are encountering currently,” Lee said.

Investigators are still trying to determine the origin of the video.

If you are a Roosevelt parent and your son or daughter has a copy of that video, you are being urged to contact Bristol police.

———-

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

http://6abc.com/news/da-middle-school-sex-video-may-be-case-of-incest/441823/

at 8:11 am

Most Broward, Palm Beach high schools earn top grades

Posted by in School

Palm Beach County‘s high schools received a record number of A’s, while Broward couldn’t maintain a banner performance from last year, according to school grades released by the state Thursday.

High school graduation rates, which are one component of school grades, also were released Thursday and showed a similar trend. Palm Beach County‘s 77.9 percent rate was its best in recent years, while the rate for Broward County, 74.2 percent, was down from last year’s 75.3 percent.

Statewide, graduation rates were at an 11-year high, although school grades slipped in many districts due to a tougher scale that was used this year, Education Commissioner Pam Stewart said.

School grades are closely watched by educators and the general public, since they impact everything from enrollment to property values to teacher pay. Schools that earn an A or improve a letter grade get extra money from the state. Schools that perform poorly can be restructured or closed down, and they often lose students.

Palm Beach County schools received 16 A’s, eight B’s, three C’s, two D’s and one F. That’s mostly an improvement from last year with three more A’s, two more B’s and five fewer C’s. The number of D’s was the same, and Palm Beach County did not have any F schools last year.

“Parents can be confident that we are moving in the right direction,” Palm Beach County Schools Superintendent Wayne Gent said. “Our teachers, our principals, our staff continue to do an outstanding job. Our teachers are rising to the occasion as our students are.”

Eighty percent of the district’s 30 high schools earned A’s and B’s last year, an 18 percent jump from the prior year. Five district-run schools and one charter school improved their grades to A’s; two district-run schools and two charter schools improved to B’s.

Leadership Academy West, a charter school in West Palm Beach, was the only F-rated school.

“We’re a small charter school, with about 140 students … when you are looking at percentages, that has an impact. A few students not testing well can throw off an average,” said Daniel Stanislawczyk, the school’s executive director.

He said the school’s governing board made drastic changes this year, hiring new teachers, a new principal and more experienced administrators.

“We anticipate that this year we’re going to see improvement,” he said.

Gent said the 77.9 percent graduation rate is the highest in the state for an urban school district.

Riviera Beach Maritime Academy charter school improved from a C to a B and boosted its graduation rate by eight percentage points to 90 percent.

“We are happy to show signs of improvements,” said school principal Tonya Hicks-Brown. “We’ve been an A school, it’s good to be moving back up.”

Pahokee Middle Sr. High School saw the largest increase in its graduation rate, climbing 16 points to earn a 90 percent graduation rate in 2014. The school, however, maintained its D-rating.

“I have to focus on [our] weaknesses and celebrate [our] strengths,” Principal Adrian Ocampo said. “The school grade is not the only representation of all of the different facets of a school, it’s almost like a snapshot.”

In Broward, 14 high schools earned A’s, 13 earned B’s, seven were C’s, two were D’s and two earned F’s. Two additional schools, Blanche Ely High in Pompano Beach and Miramar High received incomplete grades while the state reviews some possible irregularities. District officials said they expect those two grades to be an A or B in the near future.

Overall, the results declined from a stellar performance last year when all schools were rated A’s and B’s except for four, which got C’s.

Superintendent Robert Runcie attributed the change to the tougher grading scale the state imposed after 70 percent of high schools received an A or B in 2013.

“In general, we’re flat to improving,” Runcie said. “The target continues to move, so that’s a challenge.”

He said the district will review some of the schools with disappointing results, such as Boyd Anderson High in Lauderdale Lakes and Coconut Creek High, which both slipped from a C to a D.

State data: Vast majority of South Florida teachers are effective

State data: Vast majority of South Florida teachers are effective Scott Travis and Karen Yi Few teachers in South Florida need to improve their job performance, according to teacher evaluation data released Wednesday. Few teachers in South Florida need to improve their job performance, according to teacher evaluation data released Wednesday. ( Scott Travis and Karen Yi ) –>

“We’re not satisfied with those schools,” Runcie said. “We’re going to have to sit down with principals and take a hard look and make a determination about what needs to change.”

School Board member Nora Rupert, whose district includes Coconut Creek High, has been complaining in recent years that the school is floundering. She said the district hasn’t implemented strong academic programs to attract students, who are instead going to nearby Atlantic Technical High and Pompano Beach High.

“I look at this grade as an opportunity for the community and the district to really get behind Coconut Creek High and make needed changes now,” Rupert said.

Two schools that were A-rated in 2013, Dillard High in Fort Lauderdale and Hallandale High, scored low enough to receive a C. They were instead rated B due to a provision that prevents a school from dropping more than a letter grade.

Dillard changed from a high school to a combined middle and high school, and that changed the way it was graded, Runcie said.

Runcie said there was still good news. Nearly half of district-run schools maintained or improved their letter grade. And he said the district’s graduation rate would be 88 percent – not 74.2 percent — if charter and alternative schools aren’t included.

Elementary and middle school grades were released this summer. They are calculated on student performance and improvement on state tests. High school grades are calculated using additional data, such as graduation rates and the number of students taking Advanced Placement classes, and take longer for the state to compile.

Florida has been grading its schools A-to-F since 1999, based mostly on student performance and improvement on FCAT, a series of exams in math, reading, science and writing. This is the last year for most of FCAT and the current grading system — both will be replaced in 2015.

Runcie said the changes are dramatic, but he doesn’t know how that will affect school grades next year.

“All we can do is control what we can control. We need to improve schools,” he said. “Whatever the state’s accountability is, our job is to educate kids and prepare them for the future. That’s not going to change.”

http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/education/fl-high-school-grades-2014-20141217-story.html

at 8:10 am

Pakistan school attack: Bloodstains, bullet holes mark Peshawar classrooms

Posted by in School

Peshawar, Pakistan (CNN) — The high brick wall outside the Army Public School and Degree College in Peshawar gives the first clue into the horror that unfolded inside its classrooms.

A section of barbed wire has been cut at the top, allowing some of the Taliban attackers who struck Tuesday to scale the wall with bamboo ladders and drop inside, intent on killing.

Another team of militants got in further down the wall. And then they took off toward the school buildings.

As they burst into the main auditorium, full of children taking classes, the attackers split into two teams.

Now the media, allowed into the school by the Pakistani army, can see close-up the carnage they wrought.

Overturned wooden chairs lie on the floor, pools of reddish-brown dried blood beneath them. More blood has pooled under red fabric-covered seats set in rows.

It was here that so many children cowered, trying to hide under benches and chairs. A single brown shoe sits discarded under one seat, the fate of its owner unknown.

A brigadier was giving a lesson in first aid when the attackers charged in. Bandages and other first aid equipment lie tumbled on a desk. A dummy used in class remains on the floor where the brigadier fell.

“They shot me as soon as they came in,” says 17-year-old survivor Sadeel Ahmed, speaking from his hospital bed. “We tried to run. I was shot in my shoulder. The people they came, they had no sense of humanity in them. They killed little children. Muslims would not do this.”

Cold-blooded murder

More puddles of drying blood and abandoned shoes lie by one of two doors through which the army says the students sought to flee the auditorium.

A hundred of them were gunned down as they tried to escape, in an act of cold-blooded murder. It was the place where the greatest number of lives were lost.

Beyond the auditorium, blood splatters can still be seen on the ground in all directions.

Not satisfied with their slaughter in the auditorium, the Taliban attackers went upstairs to a computer lab. Pools of blood on the floor show how their young victims, many of them sons and daughters of army personnel from around Peshawar, were sprayed with bullets as they sat at each machine.

Classroom after classroom tells the same brutal story. A pair of glasses on the floor here, children’s pencils and pens there, a page from a schoolbook lying torn and crumpled.

Bullet holes punctuate a blackboard where the teacher would have been standing. Below, another gruesome red stain where the teacher fell.

Final showdown

In the administration block, where the final showdown took place between Taliban militants and security forces, shattered bricks by the door show where one attacker detonated his suicide vest.

Shrapnel from the ball bearings packed inside the vest, to cause maximum harm when detonated, pockmarks the wall to one side.

Soldiers with guns still stand guard as the media are allowed in to see the culmination of a bloody siege that lasted several hours.

Rubble on the far side of the room shows where another suicide bomber blew himself up, leaving chaos and devastation behind.

The principal’s office is nearby. She also was killed, one of a dozen teachers to lose their lives in the attack.

Right at the end of the corridor, its painted walls pocked and blasted, is the spot where the last suicide bomber detonated his vest. The deputy principal, who hid in a room nearby, survived.

In the dusty, sunlit yard into which the corridor opens lie the remains of the last attacker — a small mound covered by a white cloth, another soldier standing by.

A day earlier, the people of Peshawar mourned as they buried their dead — more than 140 of them, mostly children, who’d blithely left home for an ordinary day at school, never to come home.

CNN’s Nic Robertson reported from Peshawar and Laura Smith-Spark wrote in London. Victoria Eastwood, Sophia Saifi and Javed Iqbal also contributed to this report.



http://www.cnn.com/2014/12/18/world/asia/pakistan-peshawar-inside-school/

at 2:11 am

Dearborn Heights teen sues, charges anti-Arab bullying

A freshman girl at a high school in Dearborn Heights was repeatedly bullied and then assaulted because of her Arab ethnicity, according to a civil rights complaint filed Thursday.

“They made me scared to walk in the hallways,” said Amaya Almawri, a student at Annapolis High School. “Every time I get near the school, I want to cry, I start shaking. I can’t concentrate on my homework.”

Her mother, Nagham Bazzi, said her daughter went from being an honor-roll student to not wanting to go to school, and now gets poor grades.

She was taunted about being a terrorist and having bombs in her backpack, Almawri said. A lunchroom table was pushed into her after she complained about the harassment. During a football game, a student groped her chest and on Thanksgiving Day, someone threw a brick through their family room window with a threatening note, according to the complaint filed with the Michigan Department of Civil Rights by Almwari and her mother.

They said the school, Dearborn Heights and Dearborn Heights police failed to properly investigate and deal with the incidents. Dearborn Heights Police Chief Lee Gavin did not return a call Thursday seeking comment. The principal of Annapolis High School, Dan Scott, referred comment to Carole Beverwyk, assistant superintendent of curriculum and human resources in Dearborn Heights School District No. 7.

In a statement, she said: “The safety and education of students is our top priority. The district does not tolerate bullying or harassment of students for any reason.” She said the district is not yet aware of the complaint and declined further comment.

The complaint was filed by Nabih Ayad, a Canton attorney who chairs the Arab-American Civil Rights League, against the school, school district, and police. He said the alleged failure to investigate is part of a pattern of Arab-Americans being discriminated against by authorities in the city, where they make up about 22% of the population.

While Dearborn Heights has a growing Arab-American population, the number of Arab students at Annapolis is only a handful, said Almawri. When she started this fall, students initially thought she was Hispanic, she said. After they found out she was of Arab descent, the harassment started early in the school year.

At a powderpuff football game on Nov. 7, she said she was told not to “drop the bomb” and a male student sexually assaulted her by grabbing her chest. Almwari responded by slapping him, “as any normal person would do,” said the complaint.

Almwari was suspended for five days for the incident, while the male student was suspended for two days.

After a brick smashed through their family room window on Thanksgiving morning, “it felt like a bomb went off,” said Bazzi, the mother of the student. “It was that loud. I was shaking.” It had a note that read, “Watch out.”

A third-generation American partly of Yemeni and Lebanese descent, Almawri said people who make anti-Arab remarks are ignorant of her ethnicity and Muslim faith.

“They call us terrorists because that’s what they hear on TV,” she said.

Contact Niraj Warikoo: nwarikoo@freepress.com or 313-223-4792. Follow him on Twitter @nwarikoo

http://www.freep.com/story/news/local/michigan/wayne/2014/12/18/arab-american-student-bullying-files-complaint/20615627/

at 2:11 am

Parents allege rampant bullying at Clay County school

MIDDLEBURG, Fla. — Parents of a student attacked at a Clay County junior high school say they are taking their daughter out of that school, fed up with constant bullying there and what they say is a lack of response from school administrators and teachers.

Jack and Marti Gable say their daughter was attacked from behind at Wilkinson Junior High in Middleburg shortly after dismissal Wednesday afternoon. They say the school never called to tell them their daughter was injured. Her mother said she found out about it from another student. It took her 18 minutes to get to the school, but never got a call on her way there and her efforts to reach the school were unsuccessful.

“When your child is sitting in the clinic at the school and has just been viciously attacked and bleeding, the first thing they should do is have someone pick up that phone, an adult and call and let that parent know they have been injured,” Marti said.

The day after she says her daughter Logan has several signs of the attack still visible on her face. Her father is very upset that his daughter was suspended three days from school after the other girl pulled her hair and took her to the ground. He said she was suspended just minutes after the attack before they had even been contacted.

“My child was walking down the sidewalk trying to walk to the bus and she was attacked from behind. And yet you suspend my child?” said Jack. “When you are approached from behind and attacked from behind, how is that your fault? Why should you be suspended? My daughter never had a chance to do anything, she was sucker punched.”

Gable says he met with the assistant principal, who refused to lift the suspension.

Logan says a teacher nearby saw the other girl cursing her and yelling at her moments before she was attacked from behind, yet she says the teacher did nothing about it. She says when she was attacked a teacher nearby did nothing to break up the attack, her cousin had to reach in and pull the attacker off her.

Marti says this is a part of a pattern of bullying going on at this school and other parents have told her their children are being bullied every day at the school. She says parents are taking their kids out of the school because of the bullying.

“I think the teachers and the faculty are turning their heads to this issue, they don’t want to address it, I don’t understand why. It is not just my daughter. I think this is something parents need to know is happening every day.”

Gable says she is putting her daughter in another school after the holiday break.

Clay County school spokesman Gavin Rollins says the school administrators followed proper policy during this event but won’t comment on individual discipline. He says if there was a delay in calling the parents it was because school officials and teachers were trying to diffuse the situation and investigate to determine what exactly happened.

Rollins says he is unaware of students fleeing the school because of bullying there.

“If anything, enrollment is growing,” says Rollins.

Rollins told First Coast News that the Clay School District takes bullying very, very seriously. He says they have numerous programs in place to help empower students to verbally deescalate bullying and how to report it. Rollins says if a parent feels like they aren’t handling the situation at a school, they should report it to the district as soon as they can.

http://www.firstcoastnews.com/story/news/local/2014/12/18/parents-allege-rampant-bullying-clay-county-junior-high/20602261/

at 2:11 am

Clarksville girl’s bullying experience inspires change

Haylee Beard had been bullied from kindergarten to middle school and soon found herself at a very low point in life.

“It was mainly name calling,” the now 15-year-old student said. “I didn’t like it. I cried and would go to the guidance counselor weekly. I just kept it inside and I cried a lot.”

Her stepmother, Marie Beard, said she began to notice changes in Haylee’s behavior as she isolated herself in her room, became depressed and and shut down emotionally.

When she faked an asthma attack to leave school, Beard knew something serious was going on.

“She said nothing was wrong and then one day when I asked she ran out of the house crying,” Marie Beard said. “I told her to cry and she opened up about not having friend and being bullied. She asked me if there was a support group she could join.”

Beard said she called agencies in town in search of a bullying support group and at that time none existed that dealt specifically with bullying.

“Haylee asked if we could start one and I said we sure can,” Beard said.

Beard went through all the legal networks to establish, “Haylee‘s Hurt Helps,” in an effort to help not only her daughter but give support to all children in the Clarksville-Montgomery County area who are victims of bullying.

Haylee‘s Hurt Helps, officially established in October, is a non-profit organization that offers relief and safety to children that are being bullied mentally, physically or through cyber-channels and offer parents advice and a place to come to learn how to talk to their children openly about bullying, depression and suicidal thoughts.

The organization, partners with other community organizations to offer bullied children an environment where they see they are not alone, interact with other bullying victims and become a unit to stand together against bullying.

“It’s made me feel a lot better,” Haylee said. “I know I have somewhere to go. It’s a comfortable setting and I’m more comfortable making friends.”

Haylee said bullying has decreased and she’s found a joy in life as she works side-by-side with her mother working for Haylee’s Hurt Helps.

“Now she’s not afraid to talk to people,” Beard said. “I’m so proud of her and she works her butt off on everything for this organization.”

The organization meets monthly, and engage in other youth activities,support groups, and friendships. They also have a bully box where children can report bullies anonymously.

“I call the school and tell them the names of the bullies reported in the bully box,” Beard said. “I was amazed that kids were excited about writing these names and schools down.”

They plan to implement field trips, movie nights and much more in the future. They are currently looking for a small room to meet in weekly.

Haylee’s Hurt organizes fundraisers in the community.

On Saturday, Dec. 20, they will host a fundraiser at the Save-a-Lots on Riverside Drive. Baked goods and Christmas stocking stuffers will be sold from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. to raise funds for materials for the program.

They will also be collecting winter coats and clothing items to be donated to Manna Cafe, Beard said. A raffle will also be held.

“I really hope the next generation doesn’t have to deal with bullying,” Beard said. “Our goal is to make Montgomery County bully-free.”

About Haylee’s Hurt Helps

To learn more: http://mariebeard83.wix.com/haylees-hurt-helps

Like their Facebook Page: Haylee’s Hurt Helps

http://www.theleafchronicle.com/story/news/local/clarksville/2014/12/18/clarksville-girls-bullying-experience-inspires-change/20611047/

at 2:10 am

Combatting the cyberbully myth

Posted by in Cyber Bullying

Illustration: Joe Benke.

Why do we keep telling children that the law cannot protect them against severe cyberbullying? Time and time again politicians and the press claim that there is nothing police or parents can do if a child is being bullied on the internet, and that government needs to step in.

The parliamentary secretary for communications Paul Fletcher claimed this month that for children who were victims of bullying online, if sites like Facebook didn’t help, ”you really have no redress at all”.

This is gobsmackingly negligent. There are Commonwealth laws on the books that were written to do exactly that.

Section 474.17 of the Criminal Code makes it unlawful to use a carriage service – that is, telephone or internet – to menace, harass, or offend. The penalty can be jail.

Then, should the criminal code not be enough, there is defamation law (almost all acute cyberbullying involves defamatory speech), anti-stalking laws, laws against harassment and blackmail, and laws that protect people against threats and fears of violence to the person.

Indeed, some of these laws are excessively powerful.

Still, the fact is they exist.

The Abbott government is holding an inquiry into its election promise to establish a ”children’s e-safety commissioner” who is supposed to protect kids from cyberbullying.

This commissioner would have the legal power to force social media companies to remove abusive content from their sites in response to complaints from the public.

”Remove”, of course, is a synonym for censor. It’s bizarre that a government that promised to run a ”freedom agenda” would want to create a grand new bureaucratic body to censor the internet.

(Ironies abound. Tony Abbott announced this internet censorship proposal just a few days after he announced he would repeal section 18c of the Racial Discrimination Act because the latter was an unconscionable limit on the human right to free expression.)

But anything to help victimised children, right? Well, not if it won’t actually help them.

Bullying is a very serious problem. The harm of bullying should not be played down. At its worst and most tragic, it can lead to suicide. The desire that the government has to do something about bullying is irreproachable. But there are a lot of widely held misconceptions about the nature of cyberbullying.

First of all, there is no such thing as ”cyberbullying”. There is just bullying. The research evidence demonstrates clearly that people who are bullied online are also bullied offline. Of course, this makes intuitive sense. Bullying is a social problem, not a technological one.

In fact, the academic literature consistently suggests cyberbullying is less of a problem than traditional bullying. As a 2012 paper in Complementary Pediatrics put it, ”School bullying is more common than online bullying.” Furthermore, being bullied at school is more distressing.

It’s important not to take the very real bullying problem and turn it into a moral panic about technology.

Bullying is intentional aggressive conduct sustained over time that incorporates some kind of power imbalance – real or perceived – between the bully and bullied. Having a bureaucrat whose job it is to delete individual instances of abusive speech online won’t tackle the basic problem of children being cruel to each other.

Certainly not if a victim is subjected to sustained harassment the moment they return to the playground. Or if the abuse just migrates to less easily monitored websites.

A children’s e-safety commissioner would only offer adults a false sense of security that the bullying has been dealt with.

The major social media sites are doing an increasingly effective job at policing their own networks, and without the iron fist of the state supervising them. Facebook, the site with the youngest cohort, has developed rather extensive systems to report and ban abusive users.

Perhaps surprisingly, a more effective mechanism than reporting users for abuse is the humble unfollow and block. This neutralises the cruelty, therefore reducing the harm, and is necessary to develop coping strategies for young victims.

A lot of cyberbullying is apparently done by text message. Most mobile phones now have a feature that allows users to block calls and messages from certain numbers.

And in the case of severe abuse, there is always recourse to the law. Too often people use the word ”bullying” to describe serious criminal conduct including death threats and physical assault. But the biggest barrier to reducing the harm from bullying is the fact that many children simply don’t tell their parents or teachers what is happening. Too often adults don’t have a chance to help, to provide counsel or support.

So we have to educate parents to identify signs that their children are being bullied, and what can be done.

We have to educate children about the many institutional, legal, and technological resources available to support them.

But most of all, we have to stop this incredibly dangerous political falsehood that there are no remedies available for children who are being bullied, online or off.

Chris Berg is the policy director at the Institute of Public Affairs. His most recent book is In Defence of Freedom of Speech: from Ancient Greece to Andrew Bolt. Twitter: @chrisberg

http://rss.feedsportal.com/c/34700/f/644461/s/387d11c3/sc/38/l/0L0Sbrisbanetimes0N0Bau0Ccomment0Ccombatting0Ethe0Ecyberbully0Emyth0E20A140A3220E35aev0Bhtml/story01.htm

at 2:10 am

Wayne MacKay reflects on Dalhousie dentistry Facebook scandal

Posted by in Cyber Bullying

Wayne MacKay is a law professor at Dalhousie University, the chair of the Nova Scotia Task Force on Cyberbullying as well as the chair of the President’s Council into the rape chant at Saint Mary’s University.

Universities are and should be places where freedom of speech is highly valued. However, all speech has its reasonable limits that should be respected.

Among these limits are avoiding hate speech targeting identifiable groups and discriminatory speech more broadly.

The sexist and misogynist discussions, shared on a Facebook site by some members of Dalhousie University’s faculty of dentistry, clearly cross the line and deserve to be sanctioned.

This kind of disrespectful commentary about women generally and specific female classmates, again emphasizes how deep rooted and pervasive the problems of sexism and misogyny are, not just on campuses but throughout our society.

I was immersed in these problems both as chair of the Nova Scotia Task Force on Cyberbullying and also as chair of the President’s Council into the rape chant at Saint Mary’s University.

In light of the broad publicity surrounding these studies and the troubling incidents that sparked them, how can people continue to act in such disrespectful and harmful ways towards their fellow human beings?

Tragedies — such as the death of Rehtaeh Parsons, the infamous rape chant, the alleged conduct of Jian Ghomeshi and Bill Cosby — should have educated people about the high price of objectifying and sexualizing women.

Message not received

Somehow the message has not been received by all.

Not only does inappropriate sexist behaviour continue to occur, but it is posted on social media for the world to see.

One would hope university students would be smarter than this.

At the risk of sounding old — which I suppose I am — we live in an age of instant gratification, where speed is deified and getting things done quickly is more important than doing them thoughtfully.

Social media itself encourages blunt and brief communication. Why use an email when a text or a tweet will do? Dealing with people on the phone or in person is becoming a time-consuming anachronism. Why be involved in a real community when you can connect through Facebook or Instagram?

Technology and social media are wonderful things but they are not a substitute for real human contact and satisfying personal relationships.

I cannot imagine that these Dalhousie dental students would have said these hurtful things to the faces of their fellow students — be they female or male — but they were comfortable saying them within the “safe” confines on an artificial online community of “gentlemen.”

Most young men learn about sex and appropriate sexual relations not from parents, schools, peers or the church, but from hard core pornography, now readily available online.

All of us are surrounded by a pervasive sexist culture, which is sometimes more subtle, but still present. Violent video games celebrate the degradation and exploitation of women as do — to a lesser extent — many music videos and advertisements.

Some parents’ concerns misplaced

Some parents seem more concerned about being their children’s friends than responsible adults making them accountable for their treatment of others.

Peers have often replaced parents as the primary role models, as have celebrities in the larger culture.

There is also a growing gap between young and old where adults talk about the evils of “sexting” while younger people do not even use that term for sharing images online. This is seen as being part of free expression and relating to one another.

In respect to matters of sexual assaults and harassment, there is little real accountability. Most incidents are not reported and even when they are, the chances of serious consequences are remote.

This is particularly true in respect to criminal charges. There are inadequate supports and resources for victims of sexual violence not just on university campuses, but throughout society.

Statistics about sexual violence on university campuses are scarce. Ironically, if better statistics are kept, the reputation of that institution suffers.

When victims do decide to file complains, they are often revictimized and blamed for damaging or destroying the lives of men who “really intended no harm.”

Improving legal responses

The fact that the women affected by the Dalhousie dentistry situation could not file complaints anonymously, discourages seeking a remedy for inappropriate sexual conduct.

The potential injustice of this was recognized in the recent Supreme Court of Canada case A.B. vs. Brogg, where a victim of sexualized cyberbullying on Facebook was allowed to pursue defamation anonymously.

The picture is not completely bleak and there has been some positive change.

The very technology and social media that facilitates much of the harmful conduct also exposes it and allows the perpetrators to be found. This was the case of the person who cyberbullied Amanda Todd in British Columbia.

We are improving our legal responses and raising the consciousness of the nature and extent of the problems of sexism and other forms of discrimination in Canadian society.

Cyberbullying is no longer a hidden phenomenon.

Insufficient appetite

However, we have not made as much progress on preventing the harmful expressions and conduct and educating our children to be sensitive and empathetic people, who care as much about the feelings of other people as their own feelings and desires.

This major systemic challenge needs to be met on many different fronts. Individual acts of an offensive and hurtful character should be sanctioned but we need to go further.

We need to make structural changes that really emphasize values such as humanity, empathy and community — and not just individualism, materialism and personal gain.

Until this happens, incidents like these at Dalhousie University’s faculty of dentistry, Saint Mary’s University and ones like them all over the country, will continue to bubble to the surface.

This is one of those complex social problems for which there is no app — and often insufficient appetite for a serious and meaningful response.

http://ca.news.yahoo.com/wayne-mackay-reflects-dalhousie-dentistry-220029235.html