Cyberbullying & Sexting: Expectations for School Principals

Posted by on September 3, 2010

“Principals can’t police the Internet all night and all weekend.”

I hear this a lot from school administrators. Parents, however, often have a different (and unrealistic) perspective on the matter.

My take is that school administrators cannot be expected to police the Internet all night and all weekend.  Parents should also not view school administrators as the primary point of responsibility for what goes on after school hours in cyberspace.

The challenge, however, comes forward when after-hour and weekend cyberspace activities bleed over into school during school hours. Conflicts arising in cyberspace can lead to altercations, conflicts, and hostilities on school buses and in schools.  And of course, school administrators do have primary responsibility for maintaining safe and orderly schools during school hours — a time when cyberbullying and sexting can also occur.

What authority do school leaders have over incidents of cyberbullying and/or texting that occur out of school?  What is the best way to respond to cyberbullying incidents?  What about incidents occurring during school? 

These and related questions, along with a link to resources, are provided in an American Association of School Administrators’ interview with Nancy Willard, director of the Center for Safe and Responsible Internet Use.  I suggest school administrators check it out. 

Ken Trump

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