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SchoolMessenger Supports Cyber Bullying Focus Zone at AASA National Conference on Education

February 17, 2012

Sessions Examine Legal and Technology Solutions to Counteract the Rise of Bullying, Harassment and Violence in Schools

SchoolMessenger, the leading provider of communication solutions for education, today announced its support for the Cyber Bullying Focus Zone at the American Association of School Administrators (AASA) National Conference on Education (NCE), held in Houston from Feb. 16-19. SchoolMessenger will showcase Talk About It®, its bullying-prevention service at booth #520. Talk About It is the first and only anonymous communication service that enables students to ‘speak up’ by engaging in text and online messaging with trusted school staff members.

The annual conference is the largest gathering of public school district superintendents in the country, and serves as a venue for decision makers to address some of the leading issues that impact their administration, policy and leadership. With social media now a primary communications tool among students, the Focus Zone sessions on Cyber Bullying sponsored by SchoolMessenger provide a timely exploration of the latest legal and technology solutions K-12 and higher education leaders can use to counteract the rise of bullying, harassment and violence in schools.

“Providing a safe environment for students is no longer restricted to the school campus,” said Carter B. Myers, vice president of Anonymous Communication Solutions at SchoolMessenger. “Technology now provides students a new platform to harass, threaten, embarrass or target another person. These Cyber Bullying sessions will provide district officials with an update on legal issues their schools may encounter, and examines technology solutions that exist today to address problems before they escalate.”

Focus Zone: Cyber Bulling sessions include:

Friday, February 17

  • 12:30-1:00 p.m. (Rm 340B) – Responding to Cyber Bullying: How to Stay OUT of Court

    Participants will receive a discipline rubric/matrix that will systematically walk them through a decision-making framework that recognizes 1st and 14th Amendment cautions. The session is interactive with participants examining real court cases and applying the matrix. The presenters include: a retired state prosecutor, a technology expert and a past director of curriculum/principal. This unique combination examines the issue of cyber bullying through three very different lenses.

    Presenters:
    • Leaunda Hemphill, Associate Professor Instructional Design and Technology, Western Illinois University, Macomb, IL
    • Jill Joline Myers, Associate Professor of the School of Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice, Western Illinolis University, Macomb, IL
    • Donna McCaw, Professor, Western Illinois University, Macomb, IL
  • 1:45-2:15 p.m. (Rm 330B) – OCR Investigation of Bullying, Harassment and Sexual Violence

    After issuing controversial guidance on bullying and on sexual violence, the Office for Civil Rights of the United States Department of Education has launched investigation of several school districts. Learn about OCR's interpretation of the governing civil rights laws and be prepared if a complaint or compliance review occurs in your district. This session will review the law, guidance and recent investigations, and include a discussion focused on practical tips for dealing with OCR.

    Presenter:
    • John Borkowski, Partner, Hogan Lovells US LLP, Washington, DC
  • 1:45-2:45 p.m. (Rm 342AD) – A Primer on Sexting and Cyberbullying

    This presentation will provide an overview of recent cases on sexting and cyber bullying. It also will provide suggestions for avoiding being sued by parents and students when there are allegations of sexting and cyberbullying.

    Presenter:
    • Maree Sneed, Partner, Hogan Lovells US LLP, Washington, DC

Saturday, February 18

  • 1:00-1:30 p.m. (Rm 330A) – Boosting Achievement and Safety with Online Solutions to Counteract Bullying

    Throughout America, schools are struggling to counteract the consequences of school violence and bullying on student achievement and safety. Learn from school administrators and staff members how one family's search for a solution to protect their daughter, and preserve her right to an education free of fear, brought renewed hope for her as well as for those who bullied her. Learn how schools are adapting their programs to meet the academic and emotional needs of their students.

    Presenter:
    • Sharon Williams, Head of School, Agora Cyber Charter School, Wayne, PA
    • Michael Maslayak, Vice President, K12, Greensboro, GA

SchoolMessenger has been providing communications services to schools and districts for more than a decade. Its anonymous communication tool, Talk About It, is now available as an on-demand solution to all schools and districts, regardless of the notification service they employ. For more information, a 3-minute video introduction and a free, downloadable white paper (Creating a Culture of Dialogue: Practical Steps for Better Communication and Safer Schools), visit http://talk.schoolmessenger.com.

About SchoolMessenger

SchoolMessenger is a leading provider of communication solutions for education. Thousands of school districts, public schools, colleges, universities, private schools and other educational facilities in all 50 states depend on the company's innovative solutions, including the SchoolMessenger notification service and Talk About It anonymous communication service. Founded in 1999, the company is headquartered in Santa Cruz, California. For information, visit http://www.schoolmessenger.com or call 888.527.5225.

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