Community meeting for a community issue

"There's been so many articles and tragic stories now, that there's really no excuse not to be aware of it at this point," he said.

At the GCSD, cyberbullying has been on the radar for years. Like other districts, administrators have had to come to grips with the fact the bullying isn't truly occurring on school grounds, but can still be a major issue.

"It's one of those very gray areas," said Singleton. "If there's something that's happening online...if there is an impact on the learning environment...we will act and we will respond to that situation."

Police and other experts are increasingly recommending that parents take a more active role in their children's online lives, including having access to their social media accounts. If a child disappears, for example, and police need access to a Facebook page, it can take valuable hours to obtain a court order and subpoena the information.

But Halligan suggests that when it comes to all forms of bullying prevention, parents should not be naive about their relationship with their child and realize kids in trouble will often go to lengths to hide the situation from their parents.

"One of the overarching themes that I get across is to make sure your children have approachable adults in their life besides yourself," Halligan said.

In Guilderland schools, every case of bullying is handled differently, said Singleton.

"The response, I think it varies. We're not a zero tolerance district, but I think we're very responsive to the unique severity of the situation," he said.

A big part of Wednesday's meeting will be to emphasize that this is an issue of community concern, he continued. To that end, there will be various community resources and organizations on hand, including the Capital District Psychiatric Center; the county Department of Children, Youth and Families; the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention; and many others.

"Dealing with something like bullying is not a home issue, it's not a school issue, it's a community issue," said Singleton. "We're really hoping we can engage the parent community.""

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