Section One: The Problem
Issues shaping policy
In the dawning age of mass communication, adolescents find new ways to communicate with their peers on a daily basis. Cell phones, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, all forms of social media, have opened up the floodgates for constant access to one another. Bullying was once thought of as the bigger and stronger child on the playground asking for the smaller, weaker child’s lunch money. Today, technology has complicated the world of bullying by adding a mask for children and teens to wear while online. According to 2013 Bullying Statistics, one in three teens have been bullied online (Bullying Statistics, 2013). While this online harassment goes ...view middle of the document...
On February 2, 2012 Ohio Governor John Kasich signed House Bill 116, a bill aimed at stopping this after-school bullying, into law. The bill is in memory of Jessica Logan, an Ohio teen who experienced severe cyber bullying that caused her to take her own life. Both the Ohio House and Senate agreed upon extending the current definition of bullying to apply to cyber harassment. The new policy stretches bullying to an “electronic act,” also defined as “an act committed through the use of a cellular telephone, computer, pager, personal communication device, or other electronic communication device” (129th General Assembly, 2014).
Effective May 4, 2012, Ohio schools are required to update their anti-bullying policies to the new legislation. Policies must be updated and revised to include bullying through electronic means and bullying that occurs on the school bus. Once the definitions are updated, the policies must include the possibility of the student who is guilty of the harassment to become suspended. Aside from the definition change, policies must also incorporate a “strategy for protecting a bullying victim or other persons from new or additional bullying, including a means by which a person can report an incident anonymously” (Government Services Practice Group, 2012). Other odds and ends of the policy include: educator training on the anti-bullying policy, written statements that are sent out to students and parents outlining rules and consequences, and a list of disciplinary actions if a false report is filed.
The Jessica Logan Act comes at a time where, according to the 2013 Bullying Statistics, “over half of adolescents and teens have been bullied online, and about the same number have engaged in cyber bullying” (Bullying Statistics, 2013). House Bill 116 also suggests that teachers are required to attend at least five hours of an in-service training on prevention and intervention of harassment and bullying. What the bill does not clarify is what this content will be and where to derive the funding for these programs. There are multiple courses online through websites like iSAFE and cyber security that offer online courses for prevention. Unfortunately, the law’s content does not specify who will be administering the training or from where in the budget the money will come.
The Ohio Department of Education releases a copious amount of resources for families, students, staff, and districts to utilize in regards to anti-bullying education. More recently, the department created a model for districts to use to combat bullying in schools after the passing of the Jessica Logan Act. Within the model, Ohio schools districts are required to:
“Consult with students, parents, school employees, volunteers and community members in developing policies and programs; Publish policies in student handbooks and employee training materials; Locally report on a semiannual basis a summary of reported incidents; Provide...