Cyberbullying in the Padua Community

Cyberbullying hasn’t been around for long, but it affects our everyday lives, whether we know it or not.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cyberbullying affects about 15.5 percent of high school students. However, that number can be as much as five times higher in other studies. The CDC also says that cyberbullying is responsible for over four thousand deaths a year, the majority of them adolescents. According to a survey conducted, 36 percent of Padua students have been victims of cyberbullying.
While some see cyberbullying as only a national issue, it’s important to acknowledge that Padua is not immune to it.
Mr. Lang, the Director of College Advisement and School Counseling, said that “Cyberbullying unfortunately happens at every high school. Padua is not immune to it and although we probably see less of it happening here than at other schools, we will address the issue when it surfaces.”
Lang said the first way Padua tries to prevent cyberbullying is developing a sense of community and respect among students. “We try to promote respect for diversity, respect of the individual, and encourage students to get to know their Padua sisters. When that happens, bullying of any kind, including cyberbullying, decreases,” said Lang.
Fortunately, Padua has a plan in place when a student says they are cyberbullied.
“If a student tells their Counselor that they are being cyberbullied, we first want to listen to them and hear what happened and how it affected them.” said Lang. “It’s important for the Counselor to understand the details since most situations are different and affect people differently.”
Lang added that he finds it important for counselors to fully understand the details of the cyberbullying since most situations are different and affect people differently. “We want to understand from the student how they would like things to be handled. We want to respect their opinions and work toward a peaceful resolution.” Lang said.
The next step in resolving the issue is getting other adults involved. “Once the Counselor and the student have talked about the incident and how things can be handled, the Counselor typically will reach out to other adults who can help resolve the situation, which may include a Teacher, the School Nurse, the Class Dean, or a school administrator.” said Lang.
It’s worth noting that Padua also has disciplinary measures in place if cyberbullying occurs.
The handbook states that “Cyberbullying harms others and is strictly prohibited. Those who become aware of online harassment of any type are required to report it to the school.”
The most important part about resolving the issue is bringing the students together to talk. “When possible, we like to bring the students together to have a conversation or a series of conversations about how their words and actions can be hurtful and problematic,” said Lang. “We also want to discuss how they can handle similar situations in the future so they can move forward to live a Christ-centered life, where cyberbullying is not welcome.”
Lang said that he hopes cyberbullying never becomes a major issue at Padua. “We are very proud of the sisterhood that exists and through that, we expect students to show care and compassion to their friends and classmates.”