July 23, 2014
The advancement of technology has created a new era of bullying, dubbed “cyberbullying,” in school communities. Consistent findings across many studies report a substantial proportion of students in middle and high school are involved in cyberbullying, with girls more likely than boys to be cyberbullied. Additionally, in 10 United States studies on bullying and disabilities, all studies reported children with disabilities were 2 to 3 times more likely to be bullied than their nondisabled peers. Cyberbullying can affect anyone.
Although cyberbullying can occur outside the school, the effects of cyberbullying can affect a student’s health and education, as well as influence school culture negatively through increased violence. Therefore, both government and school systems have created legislation and policy to address cyberbullying in schools. Of youth who reported being cyberbullied, many turn to parents or friends for help, and 23% talk with a trusted teacher, who can not only help report incidents, but facilitate the role of prevention and foster communication between home and school. Teachers are not only an ear and a soft shoulder, but they have a hand in following the law.
What teachers can do:
- Know state anti-bully laws and follow established school policies and incident procedures
- Identify symptoms of cyberbully targets and talk to kids about them
- Educate parents about school-wide bully prevention programs
- Set clear rules and expectations in school and incorporate positive behavior incentives
- Model and supervise respectful behaviors
- Teach conflict resolution strategies, and
- Serve on the IEP team to set goals for social skills development, recommend supplementary aids and services, and program modifications or supports.
Sandy Shacklady-White, Supervisor of Special Education
Sandy is currently pursuing an Ed. D. with an emphasis in special education. Sandy has worked in the field of special education for 25 years. She spent her first 6 years of teaching at the Devereux Foundation. During that time Sandy received her master's degree as a reading specialist. The following 11 years were spent teaching students with disabilities in the Rose Tree Media School District. After receiving her supervisor of special education certification, she was employed in Rose Tree Media as the Supervisor of Secondary Special Education for 2 years. She has been a supervisor of special education in the West Chester Area School District for the past 6 years. Her role as a supervisor is multi-faceted and includes providing legal guidance on special education matters at multiple levels, professional development for teachers and paraprofessionals, and any other resources that are needed by the district to appropriately meet the needs of the students with disabilities. In addition, she has been an adjunct college instructor in the special education department. As an educational leader, Sandy's focus is on providing schools with the supports needed to help student with disabilities learn the skills needed to become productive members of society.
Maria Kreiter, Director of Curriculum and Instruction
Maria is currently pursuing an Ed.D. in Special Education. Having worked in private and public schools and university settings for 21 years, she is an adjunct college instructor and earned certifications as a teacher, fine-arts supervisor, curriculum and instruction supervisor, principal and superintendent. In 2007, she completed the National Staff Development Council’s Leadership Academy in Philadelphia and conducts workshops as a professional staff developer. As an educational leader, Maria strives to challenge people’s thinking about their current practices. As a parent of two children, her perspective joins theory with practice in her leadership philosophy and presentations.
 Wade, A. & Beran, T. (2011). Cyberbullying: The new era of bullying. Canadian Journal of School Psychology, 26(1), 44-61. doi: 10.1177/0829573510396318
 PACER Center. (2012). Bullying and harassment of students with disabilities: Top 10 facts parents, educators, and students need to know. Action sheet, PACER Center, Inc.: Author. Retrieved July 17, 2014 from http://www.pacer.org/publications/bullypdf/BP-18.pdf
 National Crime Prevention Council 2010 Teen Nation Research Retrieved July 17, 2014 from http://www.victimsofcrime.org/docs/Youth%20Initiative/underserved-teen-victims-initiative---case-study-guide.pdf?sfvrsn=0