Niah Lombo

Air stream

English 3

When people think of bullying, they often think of scenes like being pushed into the lockers and being called names which everyone points and laughs at you… However, Bullying has extended far beyond school and into the world wide web. Even though these acts of aggression take place outside of school boundaries, school officials should have the authority to discipline students who engage in cyber bullying because... Doing so will help improve the online behavior of students and decrease incidences of cyber bullying-related suicide attempts.

Ryan Patrick Halligan was a 13 year old student in Vermont, when he was bullied by his classmates in school and cyber bullied online for almost a year. A classmate told him that she had a crush on him online, like anyone he was happy and flustered to have someone like him. but what he didn’t know that the whole school saw the messages. He told his parents that he didn't want to go back to school after being humiliated to the point he left the classroom in tears. After being bullied in school and online, he began to research ways to kill himself. Early in the morning, when his family members were still sleeping, Ryan Halligan committed suicide by hanging himself. His body was found later by his older sister. It all had started on the internet and ended with the internet, if someone would have taken action and punished the kids for bullying Ryan then maybe they would have saved him and others.

Sarah Lynn Butler was a seventh grader from Hardy, Arkansas, committed suicide on September 26, 2009. Sarah, who had just been voted Queen for her upcoming Fall Festival, was teased at school, and later on received bullying messages on her MySpace page.  Her mother would often check her Facebook page to make sure nothing was out of the order and once she noticed the hateful comments she confronted Sarah. Sarah brushed it off and then blocked her mother so she can’t see her page. Sarah hated to go to school because her online bullies also went to school with her, she was afraid to go to school because of them. What makes it worse is that they don’t see the face of the people they are bullying, so the comments or inboxes become harsher and harsher.  On the morning of her suicide her mother login on Sarah’s Facebook to see “she was just a stupid little naive girl and nobody would miss her.” When her parents returned home they found that Sarah hanging in her closet. She left a suicide note that said she couldn't handle what others were saying about her.

These two stories are not unique. Over 25 percent of adolescents and teens have been bullied repeatedly through their cell phones or the Internet. As of 2010, 8% of public schools reported that cyber bullying had occurred among students daily or at least once a week at school or away from school. Out of the schools who reported having cyber bullying situations, 4% reported that the school environment was affected by cyber bullying. Just because it doesn't happen in school doesn't mean that it won't be brought back into school.  The phones, laptops and etc. may not be at school but the hatred of the person will always be there until someone stops it.

 At present, no federal law directly addresses bullying. In some cases, bullying overlaps with discriminatory harassment which is enforced by the U.S. Department of Education (ED). But once it is outside of school property (School, Bus, Athletic Game, or on a school computer) there is nothing they can do unless it is physically affecting someone at school. School officials should still be able to discipline someone who is a cyber bully outside of school. Mental and physical health are both equally important, it’s easier to heal physically than mentally.

Everyone goes to school to get an education, and if fear is getting in the way of that than school officials should be able to get involved even if it is not occurring at school. That's like a teacher noticing bruises on a kid and they believe that the child is being abused, they are allowed to report it because a child's life is in danger. That is the same thing as cyber bullying, but the bruises are invisible. If making a school a good and safe environment is the goal, then cyber bullying should be addressed not only by the parents but the school officials also.


  1. "Section 13A03.1 - Act of Mar. 10, 1949,P.L. 30, No. 14 Cl. 24 - PUBLIC SCHOOL CODE OF 1949." Section 13A03.1 - Act of Mar. 10, 1949,P.L. 30, No. 14 Cl. 24 - PUBLIC SCHOOL CODE OF 1949. U.S. Department of Education, 2015. Web. 6 Oct. 2015.

  2. "Pennsylvania Anti-Bullying Laws & Policies." Pennsylvania Anti-Bullying Laws & Policies. Pennsylvania Anti-Bullying Laws & Policies. GOV, 2015. Web. 6 Oct. 2015.

Comments (2)

Miriam Sachs (Student 2017)
Miriam Sachs

I did not know there are no rules that allow schools to deal with cyber bullying. I also did not know the numbers for cyber bullying were as high as they are. This 2Fer made me think about what the responsibilities of schools are as far as mental health. I also thought about how the students who were bullied isolated themselves from their parents. It would be interesting to analyze the parents' responsibilities as well. However, issues could arise if students are forced to share their online accounts with their parents.