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Don't Let The Cyber-Bullies Grind You Down
The issue of internet bullying is a live one in both schools and colleges. Not doing it is your first obligation. But what if it happens to you?
Emma O'Brien, 13 Sep 2012
And are there sanctions?
“The punishment could be in the form of a fine,” he says, “or could be as severe as academic probation, depending on the severity of the case. The third option is referral to the major offences committee, which could result in the student being suspended for the year, or expulsion.”
Now, my own experience of internet bullying, however distressing and upsetting, pales by comparison with the suffering felt by someone who is the victim of systematic and sustained bullying. Whatever psychological factors come into play, the extent of bombardment of hostile messages, snide comments and often vile aggression on message boards, on Facebook, in texts and so on often beggars belief. These attacks can be about sexual orientation, or skin colour, or social status, or taste in music, or dress sense, or anything else that might mark an individual out as an easy target.
So what we have to remember always is that abuse of any kind is abuse, and there is no reason why anyone should have to put up with it.
Some victims are terrified of escalating the situation by reporting it – thereby being seen to ‘snitch’ on their tormentors and potentially inviting even worse reprisals. The reality, however, is that schools and colleges take this kind of behaviour very seriously, and are increasingly disinclined to tolerate it. Neither should you.
Whether you go to UCC, UL, DIT or anywhere else to pursue a third level education, there will be a welfare officer in place who deals with areas such as bullying, sexual harassment, unfair treatment from lecturers and so on. Although there isn’t any policy that deals specifically with internet bullying in the University I attended, there is a dignity and respect policy in place, which covers every member of the university, including staff.
For those arriving in college, it is worth saying that your first resolve should be to give other people, whether students or staff, the respect that they deserve from you. If you have been thoughtless, provocative or insulting in your own activities online, on Facebook, on Twitter or in other fora in the past, then this is as good an opportuity as you’ll get to grow up and leave what is a deeply unpleasant habit behind.