On one of my stops for the Press Democrat’s back to school coverage yesterday, I was at Corona Creek Elementary School in Petaluma where Principal Scott Mahoney spent time with students there going over rules, reminding students about certain ins and outs on campus and other refreshers.

One of the topics struck me.

He reminded students that taunting, teasing, threatening other students online or via electronic media – cyberbullying – is strictly prohibited.

The veteran Mahoney described it to the assembled fourth through sixth graders as anything on their computers (Facebook and MySpace in particular) or cell phones that makes a classmate “feel mad, feel bad…anything to make them feel like they don’t want to come to school the next day. That cannot happen.”

Cyberbullies “post things that you wouldn’t say to someone’s face and that’s just rude so please do not do it,” Mahoney said.

It becomes the school’s business when students talk about it, when it causes a stir or ignites the campus rumor mill, he said.

“That’s when we then can take over because you have disrupted school,” he said.

He encouraged all students to tell a parent, teacher or staff member if they feel like someone is being a cyberbully.

 “Most of you have had no issue with it and never will,” he said. “We want you all to feel safe here all of the time and that includes your feelings.”

Mahoney said it’s a “whole new area” that schools are having to deal with.

Are you experiencing cyberbullying? In what form and at what age?

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