Fayette parent charges cyber bullying – in the 4th grade

The parent of a 9-year-old girl at a Fayette County elementary school told The Citizen last week that his daughter had been the victim of cyber-bullying through a website put online by one of her classmates in the fourth grade.

Jerome Lewis maintains that the school and school system have not adequately addressed the issue. The school system said the issue has been investigated, saying that the situation is outside their jurisdiction.

Lewis maintains that his daughter’s male classmate posted a message on a blog site that had derogatory comments about her, then told some of their classmates at school. Lewis said he found out about the website from his daughter on Wednesday, March 2, but was subsequently told by school officials that the school found out about the site two days earlier, on Monday.

The site, which was posted on Feb. 25 and taken down by March 4, contained several sentences Lewis insisted had targeted his daughter in a patently derogatory way. Those comments read:

“(Lewis’ daughter) yells, she is a firkin idiot, she pulls on your shirt, and she hits and kicks. She is a beeeeeeeeep which means bad words. This is all true. Do not be her friend. Do not be around her,” the posting said.

“I should never have to hear about something like this from my child when the school knew about it for days,” Lewis said. “This is bullying and harassment. For me, this is the beginning of what these kids commit suicide for. Nobody knows my daughter’s tolerance level. Who is making a judgment that she won’t harm herself?”

Admittedly frustrated, Lewis said he contacted the elementary school principal and school system discipline director C.W. Campbell about what he maintains is a clear case of cyber-bullying.

“The principal said she did a preliminary investigation with central office. She said they can’t do anything about it because the website was created at the boy’s home,” Lewis said. “How do we know it was created at home and what difference does it make?”

Lewis said he told Campbell that the situation is unmistakably an issue of cyber-bullying that was initiated on the Internet and was brought into the school setting when the boy who allegedly created the website told other children about it while at school.

“The kid was using some of the same language at school,” Lewis said. “If it isn’t bullying, it’s a step away from it and I’m not going to let it rest.”

Commenting on the situation, school system spokesperson Melinda Berry-Dreisbach said the school system determined that the website was created outside of school property and it “was out of our jurisdiction since it wasn’t created at school.”

Pertaining to any conversation at school about the website, Berry-Dreisbach said the teachers did not hear any of the other children talking about it, adding that Lewis’ daughter did go to a teacher after she was told about the website.

“When we found out, we looked into it. We didn’t drag our heels. We determined that it was created off of the school campus,” Berry-Dreisbach said. “There’s nothing more that could be done. Whenever things are brought to our attention, as soon as they are brought to our attention, there is an investigation done no matter what kind of rumor it may be.”

Lewis on March 4 took his concerns to Peachtree City police. Lewis laid out the scenario for officers and expressed interest in obtaining a restraining order, according to information included in a Georgia Open Records Law request by The Citizen. Lewis was given information to put him in touch with a local organization that assists residents seeking to obtain legal instruments such as restraining orders.

The police report also noted that Lewis was told that officers could not require the boy’s parents to contact or meet with him. Officers also told Lewis that Georgia has no current law on cyber-bullying.

The report also included a record of the officer’s contact with the boy’s father.

The boy’s father said that, “throughout the school year, (Lewis’ daughter) has yelled at his son, pulled his clothes, hit him, and that his son created the blog in response to these issues. He further stated that he has tried to have his son moved to another class but that the school would not,” the report said.

It should be noted that, beyond the allegations stated above, the existence of bullying and cyber-bullying is a growing issue faced across Georgia and the United States. The Fayette County School System less than a year ago held yet another a community workshop on the issues surrounding bullying.

Conducted by consultant Dr. Michael Carpenter, the May 2010 community workshop at Sams Auditorium was attended by only 75 people, most of whom were employees of the school system.

“Why is this place not filled up today?” Carpenter asked rhetorically. ”I’m not surprised. The people who need to be here aren’t.”

kevink
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Ninja: That's just funny right there!!!!!!

One might also try the "full crazy" approach, though the unveiled threats may likely lead to administrative action.

Don't anyone call me Francis!

Ninja Guy
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No, You Have To Do It

full-on Ninja style so it looks to the teachers like a playground accident, but so the other kids know how it really went down and that your bundle of joy is not one to be messed with--at ALL!

Swift Death To Evil!

Robert W. Morgan
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This is what we have become because of technology

Overlook the human problem and dodge responsibility through the use of technology.
So now it is cyber bullying. The school investigates the website and they are so proud they found out it wasn't created at school. So what. The website is just an offshoot of the real problem which is occurring right there in school.

Seems to me (from what I read) that the Lewis girl is the cause of the problem and she is the one that needs to be removed and sent to another classroom or even another school if she persists with this behavior. In fact the article states that the boy's father went to the school to complain about the girl's bullying BEFORE the website was created and asked that his son be moved. School said no. Then website gets created and school passes the buck because they don't have jurisdiction.

Well now Mr. or Mrs. high-paid union teacher, you do have jurisdiction over your classroom and the proper response is to move either the boy or the girl (my first choice) or both. Let's use some common sense here. You have no tolerance policies on toy guns and knives and nail clippers, why not no tolerance on real live in your face bullying - even if it is a girl.

And congrats to the police for talking to the boy's father.

posterchild
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High-paid union teacher?

Wait a minute... there aren't any union teachers in Georgia. Time to find a new way to try to disparage teachers, because that one doesn't work here.

ImFedUp
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FYI - posterchild

The Professional Association of Georgia Educators (PAGE)

posterchild
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No collective bargaining rights. Not a union.

Sorry. Try again.

AtHomeGym
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FedUp & PAGE

Not really a Union--zero bargaining rights.

mthom5436
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If there is a bully in this

If there is a bully in this story I agree it is the girl. But I don't think pulling wither child out of class s the answer. By changing classes all you do is teach these kids to run away from conflict. If I were the teacher I would calls he kids and their parents in for a conference and try to talk things out and then monitor the situation from there.

mthom5436
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Is this really bullying?

Is this really bullying? Based on what is written here, to me it looks like a little girl was irritating a little boy. Then the little boy went on the internet and essentially called the little girl a big-fat-meanie-head.

I know that "cyber bullying" is the new hot thing in the media but does that mean the citizen is going to report on every petty playground squabble?

mudcat
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This is an old-fashioned problem with an old fashioned solution

This "cyber" crap has nothing to do with it except to advertise the problem to the world. Bullies were around before computers. Try handling things like this in the classroom instead of ignoring it (like you did to the boy's father). It has been a long, long time but I remember bullies in our school put into detention (before that word was even invented) with the shop teacher. He converted them all by showing them something they could create with their hands- simple things like an ash tray or wooden bowl. They did what he said, maybe because he was 6'4" and an ex- Marine from WWII. Also, even the bullies had parents back then who really stepped in and solved problems their kids were involved in early on. None of this "Oh my little precious child would never do something like that" BS.

And if I were that little girl and acted like that, the boy's father would have visited my father the first day I acted out and I would probably still be in my room 50 years later.

roundabout
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mud

Different times!

When you were a little girl (if ever) it took a village to raise a child.

G35 Dude
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I agree mthom

I thought bullying had to contain a threat? What threat did the boy make? Just discipline your little girl Mr Lewis and move on. Don't continue to enable her bad behavior by your actions.

ncg03@yahoo.com
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.

.

dwcasey1216
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bullies and their victims

This is such a sad situation. There are so many bullies in the real world and the cyber world.

Without going into a psychological rant, I will keep this simple and say; I feel the best protection we can give our children, who are being bullied, is to educate them. Why are some children and adults bullies to begin with? How can we deal with it emotionally?

There will always be bullies - at school, at work, on the playground, on your baseball team, a coach or teacher, one of your siblings, even a parent or care giver. First; we need to understand bullies, then; we need to teach our children, and lastly; we should be able to protect our self while making sure our children know how to protect themselves.

Both of my boys where picked on by bullies. At a young age, as young as three, I signed my kids up to learn karate. This taught them not only how to defend themselves physically, but more important, how to defend themselves using self control.
They would always come to me once they tried to handle any situation themselves. We would discuss the options first and decide together what the best solution was to the problem. There were only two incidents that ended physically. If you want details ask me.

Any who, that is all I have to say about that.
:) Debbie

dwcasey1216
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adding to bullies and their victims

I would like to add... I feel like the school took the appropriate measures and should be commended for their actions. You can find out where the page originated very easily. The parents are the ones who took a part in this by being unaware how the internet is being used. All parents should educate their selves in the ways of the internet. Know how to keep up with everything that is coming and going.

Ninja Guy
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As the Resident Ninja

on these blogs, I highly recommend training your kids in martial arts and having them take out a few of the larger/meaner kids on the first day of school each year.

Go Kid Ninjas!

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