As our country continues to be impacted by COVID-19, more interactions than ever are occurring digitally including among students throughout Palmyra-Macedon Central School District.
The shift to increased digital and online interactions offers an excellent opportunity to emphasize the importance of digital citizenship. Simply being behind a keyboard or screen does not exclude one from the responsibility of being kind and respectful to others. Bullying can and does occur digitally, and there is absolutely no place for those actions of disrespect.
Parents are encouraged to speak with their children and emphasize the importance of digital citizenship. School staff members will do the same. It is also important to remember, although bullying may occur online, there are still serious consequences.
In an effort to maintain a safe and welcoming learning environment for all students, the district has a Harassment and Bullying Policy in place. Per the district’s Harassment and Bullying of Students Policy, the district prohibits all acts of harassment and bullying by employees, students, or visitors. The same actions occurring off-campus are also prohibited if the action or actions adversely impact the educational process or endangers the health or safety of students.
The Dignity for All Students Act (DASA) defines harassment and bullying as the creation of a hostile environment by conduct or by verbal threats, intimidation or abuse (including cyberbullying) that has or would have the effect of unreasonably and substantially interfering with a student’s educational performance, opportunities or benefits, or mental, emotional or physical well-being; or conduct, verbal threats, intimidation or abuse that reasonably causes or would reasonably be expected to cause a student to fear for his or her physical safety.
The phrase “threats, intimidation or abuse” includes both verbal and non-verbal actions. In some instances, bullying or harassment may constitute a violation of an individual’s civil rights.
Specifically, for digital mediums, cyberbullying means harassment or bullying (as defined above) through electronic communication.
In the district Harassment and Bullying Policy, Pal-Mac establishes the following:
- Supplies students and parents with easy-to-follow complaint procedures for reporting harassing conduct
- Provides for immediate and thorough investigations of all complaints
- Provides a means for stopping harassing conduct
- Takes immediate corrective action if harassing conduct is discovered
- Prohibits retaliation against those who make good faith reports of harassing conduct or assist in an investigation concerning harassing conduct.
You can view the full district policy on bullying at palmaccsd.org
“As we continue to operate in a digital-centric world due to the impacts of COVID-19, we must continue to treat others respectfully,” said Superintendent Bob Ike. “Digital citizenship must be displayed by our students and there will be no tolerance for any forms of bullying and disrespect. Our parents and community-at-large must display the same levels of respect we expect from our children.”
If you see something, say something. By the actions of each individual, Pal-Mac can be an even better place to grow and learn, digitally or in-person.