Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 


Combatting Cyber-Bullying: A Toolkit for Schools

MEDIA RELEASE

15 August 2012

Hon Sir Grant Hammond KNZM

President

Law Commission
Combatting Cyber-Bullying:

A Toolkit for Schools

All schools would be required to implement effective programmes to combat bullying, including cyber-bullying, if the Government accepts the Law Commission’s latest recommendations.

The recommendation is one of a package of reforms proposed by the Commission in a Ministerial briefing prepared for Justice Minister Judith Collins. In May, the Minister asked the Commission to fast-track its work in this area in response to growing concern from Police, Coroners and teachers about the impact of cyber-bullying.

Project leader and media law expert Professor John Burrows said the Commission’s focus has been on the legal framework which anchors educational policies dealing with issues of student safety and well-being.

He said schools are already required to provide a “safe physical and emotional environment for students” but there was no specific requirement to have anti-bullying policies in place.

After examining the very extensive body of research and reports on bullying in New Zealand, including a 2011 report by Ombudsman David McGee, the Commission had come to the view that it was necessary to strengthen the legal requirements on both public and private schools with respect to combatting both physical and emotional violence.

“We acknowledge the difficulties created for teachers, principals and Boards of Trustees by increasing expectation that schools can, and should, address the myriad social problems that students bring to the classroom each day.

“We also acknowledge the amount of innovative work already being done by schools and the Ministry of Education to improve school culture and the learning environment.

“However, the evidence suggests this work needs to be better supported by nationally consistent policies and procedures which provide students, teachers and parents with a clear understanding of what constitutes bullying behaviour, online and offline, and how a school will respond to such incidents, including the threshold for escalating incidents to outside agencies such as the Police and Child Youth and Family.”

Consistent data collection and national reporting around standardised measures are also necessary in order to gauge the effectiveness of anti-bullying programmes and policies.

Professor Burrows said anti-bullying policies alone would not be effective. Teachers needed to know they had the backing of the law and access to resources and assistance from other agencies when required.

“In their submission to us, the Post Primary Teachers Association made clear that students are not the only targets of cyber-bullying and harassment. Teachers and the schools themselves are increasingly targeted through fake social media sites and other online publishing platforms.”

Like other submitters, the PPTA expressed frustration at the lack of clear and authoritative channels for dealing with serious complaints which could not be resolved online.

Professor Burrows said the Commission’s proposals to boost NetSafe’s role and resourcing and also to set up a Communications Tribunal to provide speedy and efficient remedies, including takedown orders, should provide teachers with the sort of additional support and backing they need to tackle cyber-bullying and malicious attacks on students, staff and schools.

NetSafe already has a strong track record working in schools to promote the safe and responsible use of online technology and to combat cyber-bullying It had established relationships with a range of key stakeholders including the Ministry of Education, Police, the telecommunications sector, and global internet entities including Google and Facebook.

NetSafe is also working with schools to promote digital citizenship through tools such as classroom Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) contracts setting out appropriate behaviour “online and on mobile” both inside and outside school time.

The Commission suggests such contracts could be a useful tool for introducing young people and their parents to the legal basis of digital citizenship and a clear statement of what is and is not acceptable conduct on the internet.

Under the Law Commission’s proposals, NetSafe would receive increased funding and its role assisting in the mediation and resolution of complaints would be given statutory recognition.

The Commission is also proposing that school Principals, along with Police and Coroners, would have direct access to the Communications Tribunal so that they are able to escalate instances of cyber-bullying or other online behaviour which represents a threat to safety.

Finally, as is the case with respect to instances of physical bullying, where the offending is serious and the offender is aged 14 or more, schools should refer cases to the Police for prosecution under one of the new digital communication offences being recommended.

Recommendations

The Commission’s specific recommendations with respect to the education sector are:

1. National Administration Guideline 5 should be amended, to require each public school board of trustees to implement an effective anti-bullying programme (R31).

2. It should be a criterion for registration of a private school that the school provide a safe and supportive environment that includes policies and procedures that make provision for the welfare of students (R32).

3. The Ministry of Education should consider further work in the following areas (R33):

(a) the development of an agreed definition of bullying behaviour, including cyber-bullying, encouraging schools to use it in anti-bullying policies;

(b) the establishment of ongoing and routine data collection systems with standardised methods for defining and measuring covert and overt forms of bullying;

(c) the development of measurable objectives and performance indicators for activities intended to improve school safety;

(d) the development of guidelines for the reporting of serious incidents of bullying and cyber-bullying.

4. Consideration should be given to further developing the educative potential of Information and Technology (ICT) contracts to inform students about their legal rights and responsibilities with respect to communications, using for example, the set of principles developed in chapter 5 as an educative tool (R34).

-ENDS-

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

#SaveCampbellLive : Mediaworks Delivered 104,000 Petition Signatures At TV3's Newton HQ
#PonyTailGate #TailGate Full Coverage

Pukeahu Park : ANZAC 100th Anniversary Dawn Service In Pictures

Roughly 18,000 people gathered this morning at Pukeahu Memorial Park for the Anzac day centenary. Anticipating the large turnout, patrons arrived as early as 4.30. It was virtually impossible to get near the Memorial after 5am. By 6, the crowds on Taranaki Street had stretched as far back as the Z Petrol station.

The screens erected around the park displayed the live events to those who had turned up. The heat generated by the huge number of people caused many to take a turn. Medics and ambulances were on hand for the fainting crowd members. Only twenty minutes into the ceremony, one medic said they had already dealt with 15 to 20 spells. More>>

 

PARLIAMENT TODAY:

War: What’s To Commemorate?

Gordon Campbell in Werewolf: Is there anything that can be validly commemorated on this 100th anniversary of Gallipoli? Beyond, that is, a fleeting sense of empathy with the thousands of soldiers killed or wounded on April 25 1915 and in the months thereafter, until the whole thing was finally called off in December 1915. More>>

MORE IN WEREWOLF:

ALSO:

Peter Ellis Case: Minister Declines Request For Commission Of Inquiry

Justice Minister Amy Adams has declined a request from supporters of Peter Ellis for a Commission of Inquiry on the basis that an inquiry cannot be used to determine the liability of any person. More>>

Quakes: New Process For Red Zone Crown Offers

Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee has announced a process to give everyone a say on the Crown offers to owners of vacant, commercial/industrial and uninsured properties in the Residential Red Zone. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Battle Obama Is Waging Over The TPP

For the past two and a half years, this column has been arguing that the fate of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) deal will hinge on whether US President Barack Obama can win Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) from Congress... Last week, the White House finally, finally unveiled a draft TPA Bill. More>>

ALSO:

Greens: Govt Breaks Free Doctors Visit Promise To Kids

Documents obtained by the Green Party show that the Government decided to fund only 90 percent of doctors’ visits for children suffering from an injury in an attempt trim the cost of the so-called “free” visits. More>>

ALSO:

Other Wars: Extension Of NZDF Commitment In Afghanistan

The New Zealand Defence Force’s commitment of mentors and support staff to the Afghan National Army Officer Academy in Afghanistan has been extended out to December 2016, Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee says. More>>

PM's Press Conference: Auckland Property Prices Increasing "Too Rapidly"

John Key accepted that Auckland property prices 'are going up too rapidly” in a press conference held today in Wellington, however he said that this is not anything new. More>>

ALSO:

Press Conference: ANZAC PMs Concerned About ISIL Bringing The War Home

Prime Minister Key and Prime Minister Abbott spoke of the bond formed between Australia and New Zealand in the “baptism of fire” of Gallipoli. Abbott stated that New Zealand and Australia’s values and interests are linked, and this is reflected in the joint operation in Iraq which will begin shortly. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
More RSS  RSS News AlertsNews Alerts
 
 
 
Politics
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news