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Vote set on bullying/Internet policies

December 12, 2010
SOUTHBRIDGE — With technology changing our lives on a daily basis, schools are finding new ways to keep up and protect their students from its dangers.

The state has mandated that by the end of the year, all public schools must have official policies on inappropriate Internet behavior between students and teachers and against bullying.

The Southbridge School Committee met Tuesday, Dec. 7 to obtain input for their draft of the new policies. The committee will meet again Tuesday, Dec. 14 where they plan to implement the policies.

"What the Internet policy is designed to do is discourage inappropriate online and social media relations between teachers and students," said Eric Ely, Southbridge Superintendent of schools. "Teachers need to have contact with students and their parents outside of school and the Internet is a great way to do that. We want that and encourage it to happen. What we need is a strict policy to fall back on if these things occur and that is what we are trying to do."

According to Ely, the only modifications to the draft were simple word changes, such as replacing "may" with "should." Although they are two separate policies, they clearly go hand in hand.

"Bullying is basically the same as it always has been," said Ely. "It's not appropriate and won't be tolerated, but kids have always been bullied. It's a sad part of human nature. Before if a student was bullied, it stopped once they got home. Now, with social networking, it's never-ending. The same kids that bully in school are bullying just as bad on places like Facebook."

For more on this story, please see tomorrow's Southbridge Evening News.

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