Missouri Bar Citizenship Education

Cyberbullying
Lesson Plans and Teaching Options

Prepared by Russ Sackreiter for the Missouri Bar, Department of Civic Education. June 4, 2009
Objectives and activities are based on Missouri Standards, G.L.E., C.L.E., and D.O.K.

Overview

Due to recent developments and availability of computers, cell phones, and internet sites such as FaceBook, the traditional concept of the school bully has changed. Now, individuals can attack others, their reputations, and even diminish their self-esteem from a distance. They are able to display this hurtful information, along with pictures and videos to literally thousands of individuals. The number of people impacted by cyberbullying grows each day, and the effect can be seen, both inside the school and within the home. Some of the questions being raised are, whose is responsible for dealing with this problem, what can schools and parent do to reduce the problem, and what, if any, legislation deals with the issue?

Show-Me Standards

Goal 1

  • Develop questions and ideas to initiate and refine research.
  • Apply acquired information, ideas and skills to different contexts as students, workers, citizens and consumers.

 

Goal 3

  • Identify problems and define their scope and elements.
  • Examine problems and proposed solutions from multiple perspectives.
  • Evaluate the extent to which a strategy addresses the problem, assess costs, benefits and other consequences of proposed solutions.

 

Goal 4

  • Explain reasoning and identify information used to support decisions.

 

Objectives

  • Define Cyberbullying.
  • Compare and contrast the conflict between First Amendment rights and cyberbullying.
  • Identify steps that schools can take to help prevent cyberbullying on and off campus.
  • Make and support inferences as to why some schools are reluctant to enforce cyberbullying policies.
  • Summarize how cyberbullying can be disruptive to the learning environment within schools.
  • Compare and contrast the advantages and disadvantages of be being proactive rather than reactive to cyberbullying.
  • Plan and develop a policy, which would appear in your student handbook and would be effective in preventing cyberbullying.

Materials

QuickTime video clips of Professor Abrams (University of Missouri School of Law) discussing cyberbullying in a town hall format.
To download these videos, right click on the link and click "Save As"

Download Quicktime for free here

Deliberating in a Democracy-Cyberbullying (© Constitutional Rights Foundation, Chicago, 2007.) (http://www.deliberating.org/)

  • Lesson Plan/Procedure
  • Deliberation Guide
  • Deliberation Activities
  • Readings
  • Resources

Teaching Strategies

Activity One

  • Have students view parts one and two of Professor Abrams’ town hall meeting.
  • Without discussion, have students read lines one through 50 of the CRF reading on Cyberbullying.
  • Working in small groups, respond to the following questions. All students must take notes and be prepared to share the finding of the group with the rest of the class.
  • Define Cyberbullying and explain why it is a relatively new problem.
  • Explain, using three specifics why cyberbullying is a problem today.
  • Does Cyberbullying exist within this school and do you agree with the statistic that Cyberbullying will impact 40-50% of all students before they graduate.
  • Review your student handbook. Does the handbook address cyberbullying?
  • Explain the options administrators must consider before disciplining a student for Cyberbullying.
  • Allow each group about 15 minutes to deliberate the questions. Next, give each group a number and announce the youngest person in the group will be the spokesperson. Starting with group one, allow each group to respond and record the similarities and differences on the board.

Activity Two

  • Have students view part three of the Abrams town hall discussion and complete the reading on cyberbullying in the C.R.F. material.
  • Assign each student to a different group and follow the same procedure as yesterday but with the following questions.
  • Why is education and being “proactive” more effective than a “reactive” position in eliminating or reducing cyberbullying?
  • What did Professor Abrams mean when he said, “we can’t legislate our way out of this problem”?
  • Compare and contrast the concept of a “detailed policy” on cyberbullying vs. a “general policy.” Which does your group support? Explain.
  • Identify and explain three elements that should be contained within a school policy regarding cyberbullying.
  • If time permits, have the students research the Tinker vs. Des Moines case and explain its relationship to cyberbullying and a schools environment.
  • Next, give each group a number and announce the second oldest person in the group will be the spokesperson. Starting with group one, allow each group to respond and record the similarities and differences on the board.

Activity Three

  • Assign each student to a different group and follow the same procedure as yesterday, but with the following questions.
  • List four reasons for and against school administrators being allowed to punish students for engaging in cyberbullying both on and off campus.
  • As a select committee of student representatives, your administrators have asked you to draft a school policy regarding cyberbullying that will appear in next year’s student handbook.
  • Next, give each group a number and announce the second youngest person in the group will be the spokesperson. Starting with group one, allow each group to respond and record the similarities and differences on the board.