An Internet hoax announced the death of a former student. Now, some parents have gone online blasting the school alleging that there is a problem with bullying on campus. News Channel Six's Dee Griffin is getting to the bottom of the situation.
Columbia County deputies were called to investigate the person accused of bullying which led to the hoax. The school's principal Michael Johnson says that's normal procedure when there is an accusation of bullying.
Johnson says the school does not have a big problem with bullying and he goes to great lengths to stop incidents when they start. He admits PARENTS are the key to winning what's become a war on bullying.
The Evans knights are used to fighting off enemies who attempt to take down their teams, now, they are fighting enemies within their own territory.
"This is nothing new. This has been going on since MySpace hit. It's just more spaces now," explains Principal Michael Johnson.
As the world of social media has grown, so has the incidents of bullying. Each day, more students are crossing paths with danger and becoming victims.
But, Evans Middle School principal Michael Johnson says administrators are moving in the right direction to stop bullies in their tracks. "When a child has been identified as a bully they get that first strike. That second and third strike can cause them to be referred for a hearing," Johnson says.
That can often lead to suspension and expulsion. While Evans Middle has been honored for its high academic achievement and standards Johnson says it has low to zero tolerance for bullying. But, he says parents are the first line of defense. Johnson explains, "If you see things that don't look right print it out, call law enforcement or bring it into the schools so that we can see and we can help guide you in the right direction."
Although the school touts its proactive measures on campus to stop bullying. Johnson says it's often reacting to what has already started away from school grounds. "They're sitting in their bedroom, they're behind closed doors, they feel comfortable and they're on these web sites, that's when things start to happen," says Johnson.
According to Johnson, when it comes to fully protecting the Evans Knights from bullying, parents hold the best weapon. "None of these kids below the age of 16 years old should be on these networks," advises Johnson.
Johnson says the bottom line is parents must pay close attention to what their student is doing online. If there is bullying, print out the posting and contact the school and/or law enforcement.
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