Local schools take action against cyber-bullying - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Local schools take action against cyber-bullying

Posted: Updated:

KENNEWICK, Wash.--Local schools take action against cyber-bullying. Schools are taking action both inside the classroom and outside. The staff we talked with Monday says that most people don't realize how dangerous cyber-bullying really is.

Statistics show more than half of teens have been bullied online. It's often done through text messages, online websites and chat rooms. Educators at Highlands Middle School say the majority of kids use social media.

Librarian Larry Roberts says "kids; I have them raise their hands. How many of them have Facebook how many have a Myspace? I mean it's like 75-80% will raise their hands."

Kids as young as elementary school are becoming more active online. When it comes to online harassment, whether it's spreading rumors or sending photos. It can make an impact on kids that can last a lifetime.

Teacher Phil Larsen says "it is a really big deal. there's been studies that have shown that even into adulthood it has long term lasting effects. You know what you post online quite possibly stay on there forever."

Local Tri-Cities schools are reaching out to children and their parents about the dangers of cyber bullying. Teachers and counselors warn that the online harassment can sometimes lead to suicide. Larsen says "we actually have things for students and we also have things for parents as well. For students we teach them to take it seriously when they're being harassed online and let an adult know."

We were told even if it's harassment outside the classroom it still affects kids that are in school. The consequences for the bullies can be harsh. Roberts says "they'll use the actual websites and the our tech department. They'll actually print out all the messages like if it came from through Facebook or whatever and those students will be suspended for it."

Only one in 10 victims will tell an adult if they are being bullied. Highlands Middle School hosts Technology Nights for parents who want to learn more about the warning signs of cyber-bullying.