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Dual Credit Instructor and Students Combat Cyberbullying

05/12/15, 09:19:46 AM
Sweetwater—Western Texas College faculty member David Newman knows about cyberbullying.

"Each fall has seen a disturbing and persistent outbreak of cyberbullying," says Newman, a dual credit instructor at Sweetwater high school.

Typically, he has his students address cyberbullying through writing.

"Out of the amazing writing my students produced, we developed an idea—actually, an imperative—to do more."

Newman and his students did do more: they created a web page to run on Sweetwater ISD's home page and as a stand-alone page. The page, called BRAVE (Bullying Rejected and Victims Empowered), launched during the current semester.

Sweetwater ISD already provides a page on their website on which tell-tale signs of bullying are discussed and hotline numbers provided.

"The problem is that such information is not written by or for kids," says Newman.

The BRAVE page features cyberbullying victims and their stories. Victims' stories are told in their own words with an emphasis on the strategies the victims utilized to stop the cyberbullying. Students share their experiences of on-line shaming, anonymous cruelties, and even physical assaults.

Student artwork is also displayed on the page as well as links to other sites created by and for victims of cyberbullying. The page also contains resources to help parents and teachers.

"My kids have done amazing work on this project," added Newman.

"My students who had been victims loved being able to write candidly about the experience, even when old wounds were reopened.

"It has changed them to tell their stories, and then to risk sharing them with others who may be victims.

"And maybe the site could help a victim at a critical moment."

The BRAVE page is located at https://www.smore.com/5qv4x .