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Student Safety and the Rise of Cyber Bullying

Student Safety and the Rise of Cyberbullying
This July, the University of Arkansas’s Criminal Justice Institute (CJI) partnered with the Arkansas Department of Education, the Arkansas Safe Schools Association, the Attorney General’s Office and the Arkansas Department of Human Services to host the 10th Annual Safe Schools Conference.  The Arkansas Out of School Network was an exhibitor at the event and provided booklets on bullying and suicide along with other afterschool resources.  Close to 300 educators and law enforcement officers assembled at the Wyndham Riverfront Hotel in North Little Rock to discuss issues related to student safety including drug trends, bullying, suicide prevention, and LGBTQ awareness.  Though presenters spoke about various aspects of safety, one recurring theme was student use of social media. 

In light of today’s technology-driven world, social media and online safety have become increasing concerns for both educators and law enforcement officers.  The National Center for Education Statistics reports that, while face-to-face confrontation is still the most common form of bullying, cyberbullying is on the rise.  According to the Cyberbullying Research Center, nearly one in four students surveyed said that they had been victims of cyberbullying at some point in their lives.  About 15 percent said that they had committed cyberbullying.  These growing numbers are worrisome especially since studies show that being bullied and bullying are closely connected with suicide, one of the leading causes of adolescent death.

As we begin this school year, let us be mindful of the different types of bullying that can occur both in and out of school.  For more information on bullying and how to prevent it, please visit Stopbullying.gov.  Let us all work to make this school year safe for all our students.


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