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No Tolerance For Cyber-Bullying

November 9, 2013 •

 Dear Manchester High School Community

I am writing to let you know about a cyber-bullying issue that occurred Friday at Manchester High School. Late Friday morning, high school administrators were made aware of various lists that were posted on social media. Multiple high school students were involved in creating these lists, which contained names of and derogatory information about some female students who attend the high school.

I want you to know that administrators moved quickly to investigate this issue and that our investigation will continue through the weekend and into Tuesday morning. There will be stiff consequences, up to recommended expulsion, for those students who initiated or distributed these lists. 

Over the past five years, the number of cyber-bullying cases across the country has increased significantly and one cannot turn on the news without reading about the deep and sometimes tragic impact cyber-bullying has on young people. I am asking that in light of this incident, you review the Manchester Board of Education policy on bullying, which I have included below, with your student. Please note that if the actions taken by a person create a hostile environment at school for another person, that action can be considered bullying, regardless of where it occurs or was initiated.

 

The policy states:

In accordance with state law and the Manchester Board of Education’s  Safe School Climate Plan, the Board expressly prohibits any form of bullying behavior on school grounds; at a school-sponsored or school-related activity, function or program, whether on or off school grounds; at a school bus stop; on a school bus or other vehicle owned, leased or used by a local or regional board of education; or through the use of an electronic device or an electronic mobile device owned, leased or used by Board of Education. The Board also prohibits any form of bullying behavior outside of the school setting if such bullying (i) creates a hostile environment at school for the student against whom such bullying was directed, (ii) infringes on the rights of the student against whom such bullying was directed at school, or (iii) substantially disrupts the education process or the orderly operation of a school.

The entire policy can be accessed by clicking on the link below.

http://boe.townofmanchester.org/Policies/5000/5131_1.pdf

As you know, I am and continue to be a strong advocate for the use of technology as an important educational tool. While I am deeply disappointed in Friday’s events, I want to point out that we continue to work on developing good digital citizens at MHS and that the vast majority of our students utilize technology appropriately every day. Additionally, I am encouraged by the number of students who saw these lists, were appalled by their contents, and reported their existence to either a teacher or administrator and by the actions taken by both teachers and the administrative staff to ensure that these concerns were investigated immediately.

Bullying, sexual harassment and gender stereotyping of any student have no place in the Manchester Public Schools, which must be safe and nurturing environments that promote learning and full participation by all students. It is through our continued work together that we will ensure all students have access to a safe and positive school experience.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Sincerely,

Matt Geary

 

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