Pinellas schools focus on cyberbullying - WFLA News Channel 8

Pinellas schools focus on cyberbullying

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TARPON SPRINGS, FL (WFLA) - When Joan Reubens asked a room packed with fifth graders at Brooker Creek Elementary how many kids had internet on their phones, hands shot up. Reubens, a bully prevention specialist, spoke to the group as part of Cyberbullying Awareness Week in Pinellas County.

Fifth grader Hunter Terboss listened patiently but says his school doesn't have a bullying problem.

"I don't know anyone that does bullying," Terboss said. "I think it's a really bad thing to do."

Bullying has been hitting the headlines almost everyday for the last few years. Now schools are fighting back with presentations, awareness weeks, and rule changes. Fifth grader Gianna Montevago says her teacher even assigned a book on the topic.

"I think bullying is bad and wrong," Montevago said. "And people can get really hurt by it."

She says she's never been bullied but she does know what if feels like to be teased for being smaller than the other kids.

During the presentation, Reubens said elementary school kids shouldn't have social media accounts unless their parents have their passwords.

"I have an Instagram but I don't post a lot of pictures of myself," Terboss said.

Montevago doesn't have an account because her mom worries people will be able to pinpoint her location.

Cyberbullying Awareness Week caps off with a free community concert celebration on Sep. 27 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Madeira Beach Fundamental School.

According to dosomething.org, an anti-bullying website, 45 percent of kids have been bullied online. Just weeks ago, a 12-year-old Polk County girl jumped to her death, after a year of being cyberbullied.
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