Monthly Archives: August 2015

‘It’s now or never’: Texts reveal teen’s efforts to pressure boyfriend into suicide

Michelle Carter knew that if anyone found her text messages to her boyfriend Conrad Roy III, she might go to jail.

“[If the police] read my messages with him I’m done. His family will hate me and I can go to jail,” Carter texted a friend after her 18-year-old boyfriend used a gas-powered water pump to commit suicide in the parking lot of a KMart.

Carter had asked Roy in a text message to delete her messages before he carried out the suicide last summer, but investigators found them anyway.

According to prosecutors, Carter pressured her boyfriend to go through with suicide for almost a week before he carried out the act. She counseled him to overcome his fears; researched methods of committing suicide painlessly; and lied to police, his family and her friends about his whereabouts during the act itself and after, prosecutors said.

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American Nurses Association Calls for ‘Zero Tolerance’ Policy for Bullying, Workplace Violence

Are your staff being bullied? It’s likely, according to the American Nurses Association (ANA), which recently announced its support for a “zero tolerance” policy for bullying and workplace violence.

In a new position statement, the ANA says nurses “will no longer tolerate violence of any kind from any source” and calls on employers and RNs to create a healthy and safe work environment. The group’s position addresses several negative workplace actions, ranging from incivility to bullying and physical violence.

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65 per cent of students have been bullied – CDA report (JM)

JamaicaA Child Development Agency (CDA)-commissioned study has found that 60 to 65 per cent of students have been bullied at some time in their lives.

The study, titled ‘Investigating the Prevalence and Impact of Peer Abuse (Bullying) on the Development of Jamaica’s Children’, which was funded by the United Nations Children’s Fund and conducted by PSearch Associates Company Limited, found that of the children who reported being bullied, 57.6 per cent cited being teased or called names.

The study also found that 31.5 per cent of the respondents reported being hit, kicked, and shoved; 28.6 per cent indicated having lies told on them; and another 13.7 per cent report that they were excluded or ignored.

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A helpline for schools tackling cyberbullying

Cyberbullying_00With a reported 55 percent of all teens on social media witnessing outright bullying via that medium, and with 95 percent of those youngsters who witnessed bullying on social media choosing to simply ignore the behavior, K-12 districts are growing increasingly concerned about the impact that such activities can have on their students.

This concern is warranted according to the advocacy site, which reports that just one of out of every six parents are even aware of the scope and intensity involved with cyber bullying and that the victims are more likely to suffer from low self-esteem and to consider suicide as a result.

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Federal district court rules Mississippi district violated terms of consent decree by continuing the practice of advancing and endorsing the Christian religion and coercing students to participate in religious activity

A federal district court in Mississippi has found a school district in contempt for violating the terms of an agreed judgment where the school district promised  to stop practices that resulted in the advancing and endorsing of the Christian religion and coercing students to participate in religious activity. It concluded that the school district had continued to engage in the very practices that led to the lawsuit. Specifically, although the school district was under a court approved consent decree that required its compliance with a “Religion in Public Schools Policy” (Religion Policy), which outlines standards for ensuring that its schools conformed with the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause, the court found that the district held an honors convocation at which a Christian minister offered Christian prayer and the district allowed the distribution of Bibles in school.

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OUR OPINION: New Iowa House speaker should support bullying bill

(NOTE:  I’m linking to this editorial for informational purposes only and do not intend this post as an endorsement.  Part of the purpose of this blog is to follow the development of statutory law and regulations that address bullying and cyberbullying.  For that reason, Iowa is worth watching.  – Mike Tully)

First, we congratulate Linda Upmeyer for her historic selection last week as the first woman Iowa House speaker. The Clear Lake Republican will replace Kraig Paulsen of Hiawatha.

Second, we challenge Upmeyer to do what needs to be done and push an anti-bullying bill through her chamber next year.

For the last three consecutive sessions, the Iowa Legislature talked about, but didn’t pass a bill to strengthen anti-bullying law in the state.

Lawmakers came close to passage of a bill in this year’s session, but due to lack of action in the House the end result was the same – failure.

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Clemson University app could help fight cyberbullying

BLOG_8-26-15-CLEMSON-1Clemson University researchers are building what could be the first app to search photos and videos for signs of cyberbullying, as experts grow concerned that defenses are falling short in the face of changing technology.

A research team representing three of the university’s five colleges announced today it has landed a $240,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to find new defenses against cyberbullying.

Over the next two years, the team will develop an app they are calling VC_Defender that would scan pictures and video on social media. It would be similar to facial recognition software, except that the app would look for cyberbullying images instead of faces.

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Report: Incidents of school bullying on decline (MD)

BALTIMORE —State education officials have released a new report on bullying showing that the number of reported incidents is decreasing.

The yearly state Board of Education report, published in the spring, and was being discussed Tuesday at a board meeting. The report indicates that most incidents are reported in the state’s largest school districts.

In recent years, Maryland school officials have gotten tough on bullying, encouraging more students and parents to speak up and report incidents. In the 2013-14 school year, there were 4,587 reported incidents, a decrease of 668.

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Nova Scotia cyberbullying law challenge ruling expected today

A judge is expected to issue a ruling today on Nova Scotia’s groundbreaking anti-cyberbullying law.

The Supreme Court of Nova Scotia has been asked by a Halifax lawyer to approve his bid to challenge the Cyber-safety Act under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Lawyer David Fraser says the legislation is so vague and broad that cyberbullying could be considered anything online that hurts somebody’s feelings.

Fraser is representing Robert Snell who is being charged under the Cyber-Safety Act after posting on social media about a former business partner, Giles Crouch.

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Vulgar Instagram account raises cyber-bullying concerns (AR)

CABOT, Ark. (KTHV) – A vulgar social media page exploiting Cabot students is concerning police and parents about the dangers of cyber-bullying.

The page shows pictures of district students with grotesque hashtags and captions.

As many as 200 photos of 22 students and parents were posted the captions. The account has since been taken down but it’s becoming more common as younger kids start exploring social media.

“There’s a lot of victims when this happens,” said Lonoke County Prosecutor Chuck Graham.

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