Reportedly, the Parkway School District PTA has become concerned over some controversial Tweets in the popular social networking website, Twitter. Apparently, the Tweets in question referenced sexual innuendo, drug use, racial slurs, and name calling. Rightfully so, there has been a question of Cyber Bullying. If any names have been identified as targeted victims or if someone believes to be a victim of these Tweets but their names were not used, these are still criminal offenses of Cyber Bullying. The later is walking a grey line in proving that someone felt victimized even if their names were not mentioned but it is not impracticable.
According to KMOV - News, an unidentified person has this to say:
“It seems like these people they don't want to say that in public so they use tweets and cyber bullying to say what they want to say.” That was one person’s reaction after seeing the tweet.
All schools in every city, state, and country; public or private need to have Anti-Bullying Policies in place to prevent and protect potential victims; and to assist law enforcement with any criminal acts of Bullying (Cyber and non Cyber related). It is unclear at this time, as to how these Tweets came to light; whether there have been any identified victims or perpetrators.
In March 2013, students and faculty at Parkway Southwest Middle school dedicated a day for education and awareness of bullying. In 2010, the Parkway School District last updated their Anti-Bullying Policy which can be found by clicking her (X). According to the district's policy, there were 253 violent deaths in schools where Bullying was the related factor; however, the stats in question were between 1994-1999. These stats are outdated at the very least because Cyber Bullying was not a factor during these dates. Parkway would have the public believe that this number is minimal but it is grossly exaggerated. Updated stats can be found here (X). It might be time for Parkway to update its statistics.
According to the Missouri Revised Statue in August 2013, Section 160.775, all school districts in the state of Missouri are required to have Anti-Bullying Policies in place. The policy found below was a requirement for all school districts no later than 1-September 2007.
"Bullying" means intimidation or harassment that causes a reasonable student to fear for his or her physical safety or property. Bullying may consist of physical actions, including gestures, or oral, cyberbullying, electronic, or written communication, and any threat of retaliation for reporting of such acts.
Each district's antibullying policy shall be founded on the assumption that all students need a safe learning environment. Policies shall treat students equally and shall not contain specific lists of protected classes of students who are to receive special treatment. Policies may include age-appropriate differences for schools based on the grade levels at the school. Each such policy shall contain a statement of the consequences of bullying.
Each district's antibullying policy shall require district employees to report any instance of bullying of which the employee has firsthand knowledge. The district policy shall address training of employees in the requirements of the district policy."
According to the Parkway School District Handbook, there is a Resources Page near the end of the file; however, with the exception of the American School Counselor Association's website (www.SchoolCounselor.org) and the National Association of School Psychologists' website (www.NaspOnline.org), the websites pertaining to valued organizations and legislation has nonworking website addresses. As an alumni of Parkway Schools, I would like to think that they would not have close to 4-years outdated resources or using data from 14-19 years prior.
The following resources are also listed in the Anti-Bullying Manual for Parkway School District.
- Missouri Safe Schools Legislation:
20SCHOOLS%20LEGISLATION.doc (Note: this link is invalid)
- National Youth Violence Prevention Resource Center
http://www.safeyouth.org/ (Note: This link is invalid)
- Parkway Board of Education Policy Manual
http://www.boarddocs.com/mo/pkysd/Board.nsf/Public?OpenFrameSet (Note: This link is invalid)
- US Department of Health and Human Services: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Center (SAMHSA)
http://pathwayscourses.samhsa.gov/ (Note: This link is invalid)
Based on the out-dated statistics and the use of out-dated websites to back up their claims, leaves me questioning whether the Parkway School District takes Anti-Bullying Policies serious or if they simply met the basic requirements by the state prior to the 1-September 2007 deadline. One thing is for sure is that this could be a Public Relations nightmare for the school district should any child become seriously harmed as the result of Bullying in the school district. The district itself could be held liable for their lack of staying up-to-date with current Missouri legislation pertaining to school districts requirements of the Anti-Bullying Policy. The good news is that for those who have read the Anti-Bullying policy put out by Parkway School District of 2007, participants who read the policy can fill out a certificate in their names showing that they were trained in this policy. Let us not forget how many school shooting massacres there have been in the last 10-years alone by perpetrators who were previously bullied by their classmates.