Ohio schools are taking a tougher stance on bullying. A new state law required school boards to pass new or revised policies prohibiting bullying by the end of last year, says the Cincinnati Enquirer. The need for tougher policies might be evident from recent, high-profile incidents. Three freshman basketball team members at one school were charged with an attack on a teammate. Groups at two other schools were in fights that were posted on YouTube.
The new law requires schools to have procedures for investigating and reporting incidents, a strategy for protecting the victim, written reports to parents of students involved and a disciplinary procedure for students guilty of bullying. Districts with Web sites must post summaries of bullying incidents twice a year. Cyberbullying also is on the rise. Instead of fist fights, it’s text-messaging, cell-phone videos and photos, instant messaging, and social-networking Web sites that are packing the punches. “Technology presents an avenue for bullying to occur where students can’t really escape,” said Susan Graham of Child Focus, a family services agency. Union Township police also are taking a tough stance on cyberbullying, pressing charges such as telecommunications harassment against students who use cell phones or other devices to harass others.