CMS focuses on cyber-bullying prevention

by: Paige Hansen Updated:

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. - The Charlotte Mecklenburg School District said it receives social media bully complaints every day, along with complaints about online bullying, which is different from bullying in person because investigators cannot always track down who is responsible.

John Concelman, who works within CMS to prevent bullying, said that is why prevention is key. 

Concelman told Eyewitness News it’s hard to keep up with new sites and apps where students can bully their peers.

"There is no empathy between you and a computer screen, so you really feel that you can say whatever you want to say," Concelman said.

Marisela Craig and Tiffany Harris have sophomore daughters at East Mecklenburg High School, and said their students have been victims of bullying in person and online.

"When it's all said and done, the individual feels less than," Craig said. "Their feelings are definitely hurt."

Both mothers told Eyewitness News they monitor social media sites. Harris said her daughter chooses to stay offline knowing it would make her bullying worse being online.

"My daughter is smart enough to know if she goes on Facebook and reads something, it's just going to add fuel to the fire," Harris said.

"When we look at the impact of social media on our kids and in our school climates, you know if it's happening in the neighborhoods it's coming into the schools," Concelman said.

And when it does, the district said it has a responsibility to do something. CMS police would not tell us how social media bullying cases are investigated but Concelman said the department is always trying to stay ahead of them. 

"We all have issues with human capital and the more reports that we get, the more difficult it is to handle," he said.
And once it is online it is there forever, Councelman said.

The district also said bullying online can be dangerous because students usually see the comments when they're scrolling through their phones when they're alone, making them feel isolated.

Concelman said they rely on students to report bullying, since they are usually the first to know it is happening.

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