New State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia recently reached out directly to students for suggestions in dealing with cyberbullying. WBFO's senior reporter Eileen Buckley reports Elia used digital media to chat with some students across the state.
Commissioner Elia and the Education Department hosted a 'Google Hangout' session. Students from Buffalo, Troy, Ogdensburg and New Rochelle participated. Elia wanted to hear from students about their ideas about dealing with cyberbullying.
“I’m really excited to hear what you have to say and give us some ideas on things we can to try to help districts to address what I think is an important issue,” Elia explained.
Buffalo Public School student Chris participated in the Google chat with the education leader.
“This is a new issue. You know we’ve got Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat,” said the Buffalo student.
“That’s really the case, isn’t it, with all of this social media, people do things that really might never do in public or in a conversation, they do it on-line,” remarked Elia.
The Buffalo student pointed out to the education commissioner that locally there has been a program in place called BANDS Against Bullying. It works to raise awareness of the issue and promotes DIGNITY for All Students, an Act that was signed into law in 2010.
Students also recommended that parents and adults must also learn to recognize cyberbullying. The State Education Department said teachers who attend VADIR/DASA regional professional development trainings in August, will be trained on the identification, intervention, and reporting of cyberbullying.
“Ogdensburg, what are your suggestions,” Elia asked.
“Informing parents, because we barely understand cyberbullying and obviously teachers don’t either and that’s why we have this issue, so if we inform all the adults they might be able to recognize it easier than we will,” replied the Ogdensburg student.