The recent suicide of a middle-school student has reopened the debate about bullying prevention.

As a social work intern in a school setting, I see bullying that students deal with on a regular, if not daily, basis.

Since January, schools in Maine are obligated to have a bullying policy in place. Hopefully, this measure will stimulate both staff and students to take action when this hurtful behavior occurs and keeps them from having a positive and safe educational environment.

The next step is L.D. 1233, “An Act Regarding Cyberbullying”. This bill proposes to make cyberbullying a class E crime and give some legal teeth outside the school environment.

Our society is becoming more dependent on technology in various areas, with adults and youngsters relying on cellphones, smartphones and computers for work, school and social life. Some youngsters might even say they are necessities of life. People now are available 24 hours a day, seven days and nights a week, 52 weeks a year, with some negative consequences. People can express their thoughts without thinking them over. A text or email is composed, the send button is pushed and it’s done.

Cyberbullying allows one person to attack another without facing the victim directly, thereby escaping accountability for the damaging results of their actions. Cyberbullying takes place at school, but also during school vacations and at other locations, such as a victim’s home. L.D. 1233 addresses this form of bullying. The law could be an empowering measure for victims of cyberbullying to take action and put a stop to it.

Sofie Mattens

Skowhegan