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Guilderland board addresses high-tech bullying

On Tuesday, Dec. 11, the Guilderland school board convened for its regular meeting, during which members discussed how to minimize cyber bullying among students.

The board addressed changes to school policies regarding cyber bullying " harassment through computers and the Internet.

"The school attorney had some suggestions we adopted," said board member Cathy Barber.

"We're trying to stay current with all the new technology [regarding cyber bullying]," she added.

Board president Richard Weisz said the duties of the new policy are threefold: to identify the problem of cyber bullying, to encourage children to speak to adults, and to create a process for students to address problems when they arise.

"Right now we have a course being taught in the sixth grade technology class [to help students identify cyber bullying]. We're debating the best way to bring information to parents," said Assistant Superintendent for Instruction Nancy Andress.

"If you're a parent and your child is a teenager with a computer in the bedroom, you're asking for trouble," added board member Barbara Fraterrigo, "Parents have got to take an interest in this because it can be devastating to their child."

"You're breaking ground," noted Superintendent John McGuire regarding the board's action against cyber bullying.

In district news, recent academic and athletic achievements of the high school were noted and student government representatives announced plans to assist charities during the holidays.

Lynnwood Elementary School Principal James Dillon's book, "The Peaceful School Bus," was released by Hazeldon Publishing. The book addresses the issues and anxieties children face while traveling by bus to and from school.

Westmere Elementary students designed a window display for the Little Book House in Stuyvesant Plaza for the Albany Winter Festival, which will be held Saturday, Dec. 29, in a variety of locations around Albany.

Farnsworth Middle School will host a presentation of the opera "Brundibr" on Wednesday, Dec. 19 at 2 p.m. The opera, which features several FMS students, was written in Nazi-occupied Prague and was originally performed by children in Terezin, a city that became a concentration camp. One of the original members of the cast, Ela Stein Weissburger, will speak with children. She will also speak at 7 p.m. at the Guilderland Public Library.

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