Currently the director of curriculum for Confluence Academy Schools in the St. Louis area, Louise Losos cares about issues that affect students. In October 2013, she wrote an op-ed on cyber-bullying for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Cyber-bullying is much more serious than the face-to-face threats students faced in the past. Today’s bullies use the wide reach of the Internet as a tool of intimidation. According to a 2004 study by i-SAFE America, 42 percent of children in grades four through eight have experienced online bullying.

There are, however, ways to reduce this problem. School districts can train teachers and parents to recognize signs of bullying or cyber-bullying. Students might be experiencing cyber-bullying if they ask their parents to drive them to school so they won’t have to walk or take the bus. Affected children might also pretend to be sick, avoid friends, or refrain from attending school activities.

If parents suspect bullying of any kind, they should alert school officials, and if needed, the police. Websites such as the Megan Meier Foundation’s contain useful information. Most importantly, parents should communicate with their children with understanding and sympathy. Helping children express their feelings may help heal them emotionally.

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