School board adopts cyberbullying and cyberthreats into hazing and bullying policy

Tuesday, September 11, 2007 | 10:44 a.m. CDT; updated 11:19 a.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 22, 2008

COLUMBIA — The Columbia School Board unanimously voted to add cyberbullying and cyberthreats to the Columbia Public School District’s hazing and bullying policy. The policy defines cyberbullying as “sending or posting harmful or cruel text or images using the Internet or other digital communication devices.” Cyberthreats are defined as “online materials that threaten or raise concerns about violence against others, suicide or self-harm.”

The original policy was adopted by the school board in May 2006, but the policy did not mention cyberbullying or cyberthreats. Nick Boren, chief operations officer for the Columbia Public School District, presented the new language to the school board Monday and answered board members’ questions.

School board member Jan Mees asked Boren if all threats made online by students would be under school district authority.

Any cyberbullying or cyberthreat between students that is brought to the attention of the administration will be subject to school action, Boren said.

“We can discipline as if it happened within school walls,” he said.

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