The Newton County Board of Education are taking steps toward punishing bullies in the county's schools with the recommendation of an updated policy that includes social media.
The board's old policy was approved in 2000 and did not include incidents happening online or specify incidents on the school bus or at school functions.
The new policy defines bullying as follows:
"an act which occurs on school property, on school vehicles, at school bus stops, or at school related functions or activities, or by the use of data or software that is accessed through a computer, computer system, computer network, or other electronic technology of a local school system, that is:
1. Any willful attempt or threat to inflict injury on another person, when accompanied by an apparent present ability to do so;
2. Any intentional display of force such as would give the victim reason to fear or expect immediate bodily harm; or
3. Any intentional written, verbal, or physical act, which a reasonable person would perceive as being intended to threaten, harass, or intimidate..."
According to the new policy, any teacher or school employee who thinks someone is the target of bullying should report that to the principal. Bullying punishments range from reprimand to assignment to the alternative school. The board is expected to continue discussing the policy at their next meeting.