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Issue of Cyber-bullying being tackled in the Utica/Rome School Districts

By GARY LIBERATORE

UTICA/ROME, N.Y. (WKTV) - The stories have been horrific across the country this year when it comes to cyber-bullying.

Some teens have committed suicide in some cases and that is a big reason why Anne Lansing, the Executive Director of Utica Safe Schools says it is very important for school personnel and especially parents to keep their eyes and ears wide open for signs of kids being bullied.

Lansing says in this day and age of technology, parents, if they're not already, need to become computer and cell phone savvy in order to be aware of potential cyber-bullying.

Utica Safe Schools was formed in 2001, as a result of federal funding to help keep kids safe and prevent violence in schools after the Columbine shootings in Colorado.

Lansing says there is a Safe Schools coordinator in each of the city's schools in both Utica and Rome, and some coordinators actually make their way out to suburban and rural schools as well.

The federal program provides kids with yet another avenue to go for help and coordinators have found cyber-bullying is becoming more prevalent. Lansing says here in Utica, because there are so many kids from different ethnic backgrounds, there has been a rise in email and texting of ethnic slurs going on. Lansing says kids or their friends should not be afraid to come forward, either to a parent, teacher, school official or the Safe Schools Coordinator.

When it comes to determining if your child is the victim of cyber-bullying, have talks with your kids about it, make sure they know they can come forward, and any issue will be handled in an appropriate manner.

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