Quantcast

Cyberbullying Crisis, Part 1 - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Cyberbullying Crisis, Part 1

Posted: Updated:
BRISTOL, Vt. -

Middle school can be a tough time for kids and Facebook can make those teen years even harder.

Thirteen year-old Chanyiah Lawrence knows first hand how cruel kids can be online. "They bully me online, on Facebook, saying that I'm fat, I starve myself, I'm a whore," Lawrence said.

The 7th grader at Mount Abraham Union Middle School says she's been battling cyberbullying for months and admits she tries to fight back, but defending her reputation against a constant barrage of sexually explicit slurs is overwhelming. "It makes me feel down, like I have no reason to be here," she said. Lawrence says the name calling got so bad she started cutting herself to cope with the emotional trauma.

"When she came out and showed me that she sliced her wrists, I bawled. It's like -- how can somebody put your child that low," said Tanya Lawrence, Chanyiah's mother. She says she stopped monitoring her daughter's Facebook activity this year when her teen asked for more privacy. She says the bullying has gone too far, and at times, what's said online, follows Chanyiah to school.

"It just tears you up because I know it's not true about her, but they're saying it is and people believe other kids," Tanya Lawrence said.

"You're not passing a note in class to one individual, you are broadcasting it to the entire school community and beyond," said Robert Appel with the Vt. Human Rights Commission. The pervasive nature of these nasty comments is why the Human Rights Commission says cyberbullying is so destructive. Typically the victim feels like there's no escape, no safe zone.

Experts say 1 in 3 young people have experienced cyberthreats online.
Over 25 percent of teens have been bullied repeatedly through their cell phones or the Internet. More than half of the victims do not tell their parents when cyberbullying occurs.

"It makes it so that the target feels too humiliated to come to school the next day and therefore deprived of access to education and can be so disturbed by that they engage in self harming or suicidal behaviors," Appel said.

Suicide is Tanya Lawrence's biggest fear. She says until the school does more, she's pulling her daughter out. "I call back and I'm like, well she ain't coming to school until something is done because I don't need her going into the bathroom and slicing her wrists again or whatever. I don't need that," she said.

The school superintendent says she cannot speak specifically about this case, but says all bullying claims are taken seriously.

Schools are often times caught in the middle. Should they be required to monitor and punish student behavior that's happening at home, or should it be a crime?
    
Tomorrow in Part 2 of our special report, we'll take a look at the books and explore what protection Vermont law offers against cyberbullying.

Cyberbullying Crisis, Part 2

  • Local NewsMore>>

  • N.H. man killed in Lunenburg crash

    N.H. man killed in Lunenburg crash

    Monday, September 1 2014 11:33 PM EDT2014-09-02 03:33:55 GMT
    One man is dead following a tractor trailer rollover in Lunenburg.
    One man is dead following a tractor trailer rollover in Lunenburg.
  • 2 charged with skid-steer joyride on I-89

    2 charged with skid-steer joyride on I-89

    Monday, September 1 2014 10:15 PM EDT2014-09-02 02:15:25 GMT
    The theft of some construction vehicles caused chaos on the Interstate this weekend.
    The theft of some construction vehicles caused chaos on the Interstate this weekend.
  • Bike racers wrap up weekend events

    Bike racers wrap up weekend events

    Monday, September 1 2014 9:59 PM EDT2014-09-02 01:59:03 GMT
    The Green Mountain Stage Race took to the streets of Burlington Monday.
    The Green Mountain Stage Race took to the streets of Burlington Monday.
  • Allergy sufferers brave ragweed season

    Allergy sufferers brave ragweed season

    Monday, September 1 2014 7:08 PM EDT2014-09-01 23:08:26 GMT
    If you're sneezing, your nose is running and you're eyes are itchy once again this year -- you're not alone. Fall pollen counts are peaking in our region and proving tough for allergy sufferers looking to enjoy the outdoors.Despite a spate of heat and humidity, the signs of fall are undeniable. Cooler temperatures and color are on the way. And even though many think of spring as "allergy season" due to tree pollens, this time of year can be particularly tough for allergy sufferers, too -- bec...
    If you're sneezing, your nose is running and you're eyes are itchy once again this year -- you're not alone. Fall pollen counts are peaking in our region and proving tough for allergy sufferers looking to enjoy the outdoors.Despite a spate of heat and humidity, the signs of fall are undeniable. Cooler temperatures and color are on the way. And even though many think of spring as "allergy season" due to tree pollens, this time of year can be particularly tough for allergy sufferers, too -- bec...
  • Holiday drivers find lower prices at the pump

    Holiday drivers find lower prices at the pump

    Monday, September 1 2014 6:59 PM EDT2014-09-01 22:59:21 GMT
    Drivers this holiday weekend found lower gas prices at the pump.
    Drivers this holiday weekend found lower gas prices at the pump.
  • Sanders addresses Labor Day rally

    Sanders addresses Labor Day rally

    Monday, September 1 2014 6:51 PM EDT2014-09-01 22:51:52 GMT
    Community members gathered in Burlington's Battery Park Monday to celebrate Labor Day -- and hear from Senator Bernie Sanders.Union leaders addressed the importance of employees supporting one another. They also thanked the community for supporting Vermont's unions. Senator Sanders says the holiday is for working people to not only celebrate their gains, but to also address issues facing the working class."There's a lot of work in front of us if we're going to make sure that our kids and our ...
    Community members gathered in Burlington's Battery Park Monday to celebrate Labor Day -- and hear from Senator Bernie Sanders.Union leaders addressed the importance of employees supporting one another. They also thanked the community for supporting Vermont's unions. Senator Sanders says the holiday is for working people to not only celebrate their gains, but to also address issues facing the working class."There's a lot of work in front of us if we're going to make sure that our kids and our ...
  • Authorities seize animals from Santa's Land

    Authorities seize animals from Santa's Land

    Monday, September 1 2014 4:32 PM EDT2014-09-01 20:32:03 GMT
    The Windham County Sheriffs Department says it seized multiple animals from the theme park this weekend.
    The Windham County Sheriffs Department says it seized multiple animals from the theme park this weekend.
  • Body discovered in Massena

    Body discovered in Massena

    Monday, September 1 2014 4:02 PM EDT2014-09-01 20:02:43 GMT
    New York State Police are investigating an unidentified body found in Massena.
    New York State Police are investigating an unidentified body found in Massena.
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and WCAX. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.