Pilot Program Against Facebook Cyberbullying To Begin In Md.

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — Educators get schooled by Facebook on ways to identify and handle cyberbullying.

Pat Warren reports Maryland public schools are in a pilot program with Facebook to keep kids safe on the Internet.

In Annapolis last year, a cyberbullying case involved a student who took another student’s picture without permission, then texted the photo to other students with a disparaging comment. The picture and comment were eventfully posted on social media.

“I used to go to school with a lot of people who did that constantly almost every day,” said Margo Wittelsberger, student.

Friday, Anne Arundel County was the meeting place for educators and representatives from Facebook in a program initiated by Attorney General Doug Gansler. It has educators working with Facebook to report postings that may look innocent, but really are bullying.

“I did have it happen to me before and it really is painful,” said Shane Carter, student.

“You have a kid who’s barked at in a hallway or called a dog. They walk to their locker, the kids bark at them. It’s a very sad situation and it’s a situation that you as educators are all going to be aware of,” said Krista Kobeski, Facebook. “So you can report content or find out how to report content through Facebook.”

Cyberbullying is not uncommon, but the suicide of 15-year-old Grace McComas in Howard County was a game-changer in Maryland.

“Grace McComas was a game-changer in the sense that it made it illegal as a misdemeanor here in the state of Maryland to engage in this kind of conduct against a minor,” Gansler said. “But the problem is, the Grace McComas situations are horrible, but there’s hundreds and thousands of children bullied every day who don’t kill themselves and they have to live with this.”

Facebook encourages everyone to go to their help page when situations arise.

The minimum age to be on Facebook is 13 years old.

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