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Modern-day bullying no stranger here

By Jeff Witten
whitten@bryancountynews.net>

School bullies have been around for as long as there have been schools. But they’ve exchanged school yards for smartphones and the Internet these days.
It’s known as cyberbullying, and an anonymous survey of nearly 700 students attending Bryan County Schools in 2013-14 produced some startling results:
Nearly a quarter of Bryan students surveyed said they’d been cyberbullied on either social media or by text message or email, and 13 percent admitted to cyberbullying others.
Here’s something else worth noting about the survey — the results of which were recently shared with the Bryan County Board in a high-tech presentation that included videos, animation and more: The project was put together by fifth-graders in Beth McCoy’s gifted SEEK class at Bryan County Elementary School.
Like most projects, this one had a beginning.
By Jeff Witten
whitten@bryancountynews.net>

School bullies have been around for as long as there have been schools. But they’ve exchanged school yards for smartphones and the Internet these days.
It’s known as cyberbullying, and an anonymous survey of nearly 700 students attending Bryan County Schools in 2013-14 produced some startling results:
Nearly a quarter of Bryan students surveyed said they’d been cyberbullied on either social media or by text message or email, and 13 percent admitted to cyberbullying others.
Here’s something else worth noting about the survey — the results of which were recently shared with the Bryan County Board in a high-tech presentation that included videos, animation and more: The project was put together by fifth-graders in Beth McCoy’s gifted SEEK class at Bryan County Elementary School.
Like most projects, this one had a beginning.
Teamwork
In all, 18 SEEK students worked on the project: .J. Anderson, Devin Bochette, Alexander Brown, Kate Butler, Emilio Castanon, Ryan Chapman, Ahmad Dukes, Jacob Gay, Jesse Henderson, Alexis Hovis, Emily Hughes, Will Kroymann, Noah MasonLang, James Shuman, Dorian Stokes, Joey White and Cody Woods.
Five then volunteered to take the group’s findings public: Castanon, Kroymann, Stokes, Anderson and Mason Lang.
They made the presentation first to their classmates, then to the Bryan County Board of Education at the board’s May 15 meeting at BCES.
The roughly 20-minute presentation essentially blew the socks off school board members and administrators.
“It is a great day as superintendent when you have young people taking a proactive stance against a very important topic, cyberbullying,” said Superintendent Dr. Paul Brooksher. “The Board of Education and I were truly impressed with the quality of the presentation and message the students from BCES shared with us.
“Having students take the lead on educating other students about the impacts of cyberbullying is one of the best ways to change student behaviors.”
But parents also have to know what their kids are up to when they’re connected to cyberspace, Brooksher said.
“With the near unlimited access to the Internet, the overwhelming number of social media outlets and a societal need to stay connected, both parents and students need to educate themselves on the topic of cyberbullying,” he said.
“It is essential that parents stay involved in their child’s electronic and online interactions and set very clear expectations for how those devices are used.”
Future
The fifth-graders responsible for the research will be moving on to middle school next year. But there is talk of them giving the presentation to other schools in the district.
Additionally, the project itself will be entered into the Georgia Student Media Festival.
McCoy hopes it makes a difference.
“This was an amazing group of students,” she said. “They embraced the project and truly learned from it. I hope they remember that when they’re faced with issues involving bullying and cyberbullying.”
Videos and graphic elements developed by BCES's fifth grade SEEK gift class led by teachers Beth McCoy and Alexys Sykes.

Survey of students


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