Back to School

2017

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Thursday, August 3, 2017 Goldsboro News-Argus — 9 5DCT0817L© Helping your family with... NC Pre-Kindergarten • Car Seat Checks Lending Library of Toys & Books Prenatal & Parenting Classes Identifying Quality Child Care 919.735.3371 • www.pfcw.com 800 N. William Street, Goldsboro 1DBL0817M© By STEVE HERRING sherring@newsargus.com Bullying is moving from the schoolyard to social media. But regardless of where the bul- lying is occurring, communication remains a key tool in addressing the issue, said Christa Coates, a counselor at Eastern Wayne High School. A lot of what she now sees is cyber bullying. People don't even recognize it as bullying sometimes, she said. "They are in the middle of it before they realize,'Oh my gosh, I am being bullied,'" Mrs. Coates said. "It is so easy to insult someone via text or via Snapchat or Facebook or whatever than it is to say it to somebody's face. "So a lot of time I think it starts through technology, social media, texting, those sort of things. It just seems it is easier for the bully to have courage to say some- thing like that when they are not looking somebody in the face." Cyberbullying is a growing trend and is harder for a school to manage because it is happening at home or after school, but the impact is spilling over into the school day, she said. "Schools really do care," Ms. Coates said. "We really do not want students to feel unsafe or uncomfortable at school. So if a student is being bullied or if the friend of a stu- dent is being bullied or a parent knows of a child being bullied, I would encourage communication — communication with the child, communication with the parent of the child, if you know them." If a person does not feel com- fortable talking with the parent of the child being bullied, they should contact the school, she said. "We certainly aren't going to tol- erate it at school, and bullies will be punished," she said."Academics come first. Anything a parent can do at home to coach their child on how to be self-sufficient we want." The school does not want a par- ent to be blindsided by child liv- ing in fear of going to school and not understanding why, she said. That is why communication is so important, Mrs. Coates said. Mrs. Coates encourages parents to talk with their child, to learn to recognize signs and how to respond so that if they see a trend indicating bullying, it can be nipped it in the bud early, Ms. Coates said. Typically, schools receive more referrals of children being bullied more so than parents calling and saying their child is a bully, she said. "A lot of times what we deal with is trying to get to the bottom of who is doing the bullying," she said. "If a student comes in, or a friend of a student comes in, and says that they are being bullied or their friend is being bullied, we first of all try to figure out where it is happening because most the time is not going to be happening in the middle of the classroom. "Bullying is very, very difficult to manage because children know how to do it and when to do it so that they are not going to be caught." Mrs. Coates said she tries to fig- ure out where it is happening, if it is one person or is happening in a group. She also works to get specific examples of what is being said and or is being done. That child is called into her office and told it has been report- ed certain things are occurring. "We try to protect the identity of the (reporting) student as much as possible," she said. "But at the same time if you are the bully, and you know who you are bullying, it is going to be pret- ty easy to figure out." Mrs. Coates said she normally tells the alleged bully that she does not discipline students. "What I try to do is mediate so that this doesn't become a prob- lem that we have to turn over principal," Mrs. Coates said. "So I want to talk to you about what has been reported to me, and I want to see if we can get to the bottom of what is happening. "I give them a chance to talk. Sometimes they deny it. Sometimes they say so-and-so has been doing such-and-such. So we just try to do some conflict resolu- tion, try to get to the bottom of what is really going on. "But I will always let them know that we are going to leave it in this office, and if it continues, then I have to turn it over to an Communication is key to stopping issue of bullying See BULLYING,Page 11

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