It was a sobering moment when the Colusa County District Attorney’s Enforcement Officer, Cindy DeWoody, asked if Arbuckle Elementary 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders had access to the Internet or social media platforms including Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat. Nearly the entire room raised their hands.
“It’s scary, isn’t it,” said the County’s Sheriff School Resource Officer, Leanne Knutson.
DeWoody urged students to take responsibility for their virtual presence, online safety, and digital actions.
Making her way across the county, DeWoody has provided both student and parent presentations at Arbuckle, Colusa, and Maxwell.
“This is an important topic to be discussed with parents and their students,” said Deputy Knutson.
Although attendance was bleak countywide, officials commented they were happy parents attended.
“We had about 35 parents attend one of our parent presentations, and most all the parents were shocked this was happening in their own county,” said Arbuckle Elementary School Principal Summer Shadley.
Announcements for the parent presentations were made through fliers sent home and on the schools’ Facebook pages.
DeWoody provided age-appropriate activities and explored the meanings of bullying, and its consequences.
“Bullying is unwanted, mean behavior towards someone else,” said DeWoody in her presentation. “There are several types of bullying, including verbal, social, and physical bullying.”
DeWoody added there is a specific type of bullying happening more frequently.
“If you say something mean to somebody else using any electronic device, a cell phone, an iPad, iPod, tablet, a gaming device, or a computer, it is called Cyber Bullying,” said DeWoody.
DeWoody explained that bullying is a criminal offense and is taken seriously.
“Bullying is a type of child abuse, and we take each case seriously,” said DeWoody. She added that cases of bullying can often lead to consequences with the school, at home, and with the law.
“If the bullying is serious enough you will have to go to court and explain to a judge on why you thought you should bully someone,” said DeWoody.
DeWoody explained using electronic devices are a privilege and not a right and can be revoked at anytime by school officials, their parents and law enforcement.
Anti bullying presentation
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“A judge, or your parents can prohibit you from using electronic devices if they feel you are not responsible enough to use these devices,” said DeWoody.
She urged students to stand up against bullying and to report any bullying they see.
“I think this is an awesome opportunity that the District Attorney’s Office as provided for the students,” said Shadley. “I believe all students should be exposed to the content in the presentation, because we are living in a world of social media and technology.”
Shadley commented that schools across the nation are seeing an increase in cyber bullying.
“Cyber bullying is something that hasn’t been taught in schools and students need to know the consequences,” said Shadley.
“We ask that you stop the bullying. We want your generation to not tolerate it and say ‘enough is enough, I am going to stop it.’” said DeWoody. ■