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Step Up to Stop Bullying, Part 2: Monitoring Social Media

The Pulaski County Special School District is doing something new and different that will hopefully change things.

LITTLE ROCK, AR - The Pulaski County Special School District is stepping up, to stop bullying.

The district is using a new and unique approach to keeping students on the right path when it comes to social media.
 
They use websites like Facebook, Twitter, and even Snapchat.

The goal is to educate more than discipline.

If it works, then other districts in the state might hop on board.

When something happens, the first thing kids do is tweet about it or post it on their Facebook page.

Often they don't think twice, and that's a problem.

What may seem like an innocent post or comment, can spread like wildfire. and the repercussions have been extreme.

"There's been a rise, a spike in cyberbullying that has contributed to teen suicides."

The Pulaski County Special School District is doing something new and different that will hopefully change things.

Using social media websites, Deborah Rousch monitors student posts throughout the district, looking for signs of bullying or inappropriate posts.

"When you're a teenage girl and you have body image issues and people take pictures of you when you're not aware of it and post them for all to see... that can be devastating," says Rousch.

Technology allows anyone to send hurtful messages, spread rumors, create websites, video, profiles on social networks, and take pictures, and post all of it online in a matter of seconds.

The problem, according to Rousch, is that most students think what they post is private.

"If I can see it... an employer can see it, a recruitment officer from a community can see it."

When a red flag appears, she and the school's principal spring into action.

The first step is educating the students about the dangers of bullying.

"If you talk to them, they are typically willing to take it down off their site. They don't even think of the consequences."

"Q:  Are there instances where discipline is required?  A:  Oh, absolutely."

Rousch continues to proactively monitor social media websites, hoping the State Board of Education will see the impact she is making, and implement something similar across the state, before another victim is targeted.

Click here to take the Stop the Bullying pledge.

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