OCS: Bullying is a serious matter

Published 12:05 am Thursday, September 22, 2011

Opp City Schools is being proactive when it comes to bullying, officials said Tuesday night.

Assistant Superintendent Emily Edgar said school officials will bring an Alabama Computer Forensics Institute and Troy University-based Cyber-Kids Protection Initiative to Opp High School on Oct. 5.

“We thought it would be good,” she said. “We know it is on a church night, but we are going to get our churches involved to help us tell how important it is.”

Edgar said she hopes that churches will bring their youth groups to hear the message.

Edgar said bullying sometimes goes beyond the campuses with the use of text messaging and social networking sites such as Facebook, but still makes its way on the campuses causing problems at school.

“It can be dangerous,” she said. “It’s easy for it to become a problem, and we want to educate all of our parents.”

Edgar said she became enlightened about just how serious cyber-bulling is when she served on a grand jury.

Edgar said she learned of different things that one can be arrested for dealing with texting and social networking sites.

Superintendent Michael Smithart said bullying is something school administrators take very seriously.

“Alabama has very strict laws in schools,” he said. “We log every instance; every report.”

Still, Smithart said it makes it difficult for school officials to help combat when students don’t bring it to their attention.

“They don’t tell us enough that it’s going on,” he said. “Our administrators handle everything that comes to us, and we encourage those kids to talk to administrators and they’ll handle it.”

So far this year, only one instance has been reported at OHS, principal Clayton Norris said.

Board member William Hines said he had the opportunity to sit in the program when it came to Andalusia City Schools last year.

“What they are doing is great,” Hines said.

The event will be held from 6 p.m. until 7:15 p.m.