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Stop Cyberbullying Day March 31, 2007

Posted by Michael McVey in stopcyberbullying.
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andy   My online colleague, Andy Carvin, who does not know me (but should) declared Friday, March 30, to be Stop Cyberbulying Day and asked, through his blog, what we were doing to raise awareness about Cyberbullying.

Well, I’ll tell you Andy, I drove two hours up to Phoenix to speak at the inaugural conference of the Arizona Professors of Educational Administration. This group is a subdivision of a national group, NCPEA.

My talk covered the basics of Web 2.0 and School 2.0 then veered quickly off into the many social networking tools that school administrators should be conscious of if not regularly using.

We eventually got to the horror stories. I showed the Star Wars kid video. I showed the Angry Teacher in New Jersey caught on a camera phone. I told them about online tools in virtual environments that can take over your avatar and cause it to act provocatively and potentially embarrass students. I told them stories about students taking photos of classmates in restrooms then posting them online before the student had even flushed. This recently happened in Cave Creek, Arizona, so it hit home.

Then I shared with them the fork in the road at which we are all standing. Do we, as Superintendents, shut down school sites to web mail? Do we shut out access to MySpace and Facebook? Do we clamp down on every aspect of the Read/Write web that make us uncomfortable?

Or do we do as, for example, Eisenhower Middle School, that set up a course for students in Grade Six to discuss ethics and cyberbullying? Do we use our roles as educational leaders, which is what Principals and Superintendents are, to actually lead, teach, and engage students on how to address these technological changes?
By the time I left for the drive back to Tucson, I believe I had planted some seeds of common sense in the minds of some people who can make a difference.

How’s that, Andy?