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School Signs of Cyberbullying in New Haven

October 18, 2010


The recent tragic case of Rutgers University freshman Tyler Clementi's suicide, allegedly triggered by cyber-bullying, as well as a number of other incidents in the nation's high schools, has led to some soul-searching in the New Haven, CT school system as well.

The MicroSociety Magnet School in New Haven recently invited an FBI agent to talk to the students about the damage that cyber-bullying can cause to the fabric of a school. Agent Ron Outfitt warned the children about the perils of bullying and abuse on online social networks and shared some strategies for neutralizing and resisting bullies.

The damage caused by bullying is so much greater on social networks for a number of reasons, one being the significantly larger audience – insstead of a few classmates, on Facebook or Twitter a hurtful comment or a damaging rumor can reach hundreds of people in an instant. Another is the impersonal nature of online communication that allows people to be much less considerate of the feelings of others than they would in person.

Agent Outfitt told the students that bullies are cowardly and immature, and their behavior is caused by an inferiority complex. In a nation that is rethinking education across the board, bullying is just one of the challenges in a changing educational landscape.