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Cyber-bullying results in suicide

18 October 2012

It’s an increasingly problematic issue for schools, recently highlighted by the suicide of a 15 year old girl from Canada.

Both pupils and staff have been victims of cyber-bullying through videos of teachers on YouTube, taunts on Facebook and nasty, anonymous texts and emails. Schools have a duty to protect pupils and staff from cyberbullying, often through engaging parents and educating pupils on awareness, effects, repercussions and management of cyber-bullying through assemblies and briefings on the appropriate use of technology. But schools can go further.

Recent legislation and Department for Education guidance have given schools the power to search, seize and in some cases destroy a pupil’s data. There are concerns the use of these powers will sometimes be disproportionate and could be abused. However, if schools’ behaviour policies are appropriately drafted and regularly reviewed and careful consideration is taken in choosing to exercise these powers then they could be a valuable addition to schools' efforts to prevent similar tragedies from happening in the UK.

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