Taking a stand against cyberbullying

Rep. Winger was honored to join other speakers at a student assembly earlier this week at Indian Trail Junior High School in Addison, IL to talk about bullying prevention. Rep. Winger strongly believes every student should feel safe from harassment from bullies – whether in person or through the use of technology.

She explained to the students that one of the jobs of a state representative is to listen to the people from their districts - even kids – and then to take action based on what they learn – sometimes that action is to create a law.

Over the past several years the Illinois General Assembly has passed a number of laws designed to prevent cyberbullying and protect those who fall victim to it. Cyberbullying is defined as embarrassing, humiliating, harassing or tormenting another person using the Internet, cell phone or other forms of digital communication.

The state of Illinois requires all school districts to create and implement a written bullying policy. Additionally, school districts can suspend or expel a student for making threats over the internet. Finally, if a school has reason to believe that a student's social media account contains evidence that the student has violated a school disciplinary rule or policy, they can require the student to provide their passwords.

Rep. Winger explained that kids who are cyberbullied have a hard time getting away from the abuse because it happens 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and can reach a child even when they are alone. Cyberbullying messages and images can be posted anonymously and distributed quickly to a very wide audience. Those messages and images are often impossible to remove once they are posted.

See photos from the school assembly on My Suburban Life.

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