Update: Pitt County Schools one step closer to punishing more cyberbullies

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – As the new school year is just weeks away, Pitt County Schools is looking to update its policy manual.

Monday night, the Pitt County Board of Education took the first step to aligning its policies more closely with that of the North Carolina School Board Association.

Pitt County Schools spokesman Brock Letchworth says sometimes policies can be either too vague or too specific.

Prohibited behaviors have existed for years, but now one policy under the clause will read, “The board expressly prohibits unlawful discrimination, harassment and bullying, including cyberbullying.”

A 2013 anti-discrimination policy already included cyberbullying, but the Pitt County school board wants to make sure the definition of “cyberbullying” is clear.

“When you put that terminology in there and refer to cyberbullying then it allows us to also enforce that rule,” said Letchworth. “We all know a lot of bullying takes place outside of school, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have an impact on what happens inside of school.”

Many parents are glad to see the word added to the school’s manual, hoping it will hold violators accountable for an issue happening more than we may think on school property, at sponsored events, on buses, even at bus stops.

Kylene Dibble is the executive director for Parents for Public Schools of Pitt County. She says even if cyberbullying happens at home, it still affects kids when they walk in the school doors, making it a school issue.

“Cyberbullying is happening,” said Kylene Dibble. “It’s strongly affecting this generation of students. As we seek to make students feel safe, then we’re also accomplishing our goal of making our students feel stronger.”

The board is expected to vote to ratify the updated policy at next month’s meeting.

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