As the school year kicked off last week, several parents expressed concern about a new Facebook page set up, apparently, to help spread gossip within Lawrence High School.
Some concerned members of the public notified the school administration and the Journal-World of “Lawrence HS Halls,” a page that’s anonymously set up to emulate a person with the stated mission “if something is going on, it’ll be soon posted on here so you don’t have to waste your time going around trying to find everything out.”
It started on Aug. 12 and has 164 friends but, so far, no posts — at least not ones that are publicly visible.
The district’s policy on bullying and hazing doesn’t mention Facebook or any other social networks by name but does define cyberbullying as “threats or harassment over Internet through web pages, email, instant messaging, text messaging, or by other electronic means.” Students can be disciplined for such acts even if initiated off school grounds if the bullying “substantially disrupts” the educational process.
Really, though, there’s not too much school officials can do when it comes to online issues, said Kevin Harrell, division director for student intervention services in the Lawrence district. To address online bullying that occurs outside of school, he said, he encourages parents to contact police.
Each building in the district can have its own manner of reporting on- and off-line bullying. All are confidential but none is anonymous, Harrell said. They include online forms and boxes where students can drop notes. Parents with concerns, he said, should contact their child’s principal.