FROM THE PRINCIPAL
To the HMS Community,
"Students Charged with Cyber Harassment Over Instagram Post"
Did this recent headline get your attention too? Or perhaps you read the recent NJ Herald article, "Bullying no longer stops at playground fence". Cyberbullying continues to be a major topic as it is increasingly relevant to our increasingly "connected" students.
From my perspective, it seems that students are gaining access to internet-connected devices (i.e. Smartphones) at younger and younger ages. With this, our children are thrown into virtual worlds and networks that, as adults, we can have a difficult time keeping up with.
What are we to do? We must maintain an open dialogue with our students and children about expectations and how to act when confronted with difficult, perhaps uncomfortable, situations. This guide from Common Sense Media provides a list of suggested topics to cover when speaking to your child about cybersafety and digital citizenship. Among the suggestions listed:
Communicate appropriately. Use the right language for your audience. You might write or speak to a teacher differently from a friend. And never use all caps!
Keep private things private. Don't share personal information, including passwords, your home address, inappropriate images, and gossip.
Respect others. Be courteous. Disagree politely.
Be an "upstander." If someone you know is being targeted by a bully, stand up for that person. You would want him or her to do the same for you.
Report misbehavior. The Internet is a giant community, and you can help it be a nice place.
Think before you post, text, or share. Consider how you and others might feel after you've posted something. It's not always easy to take back what you've said online, and your online behavior can create a lasting footprint.
(Common Sense Media)
Perhaps your child doesn't have a Smart (internet-capable) device, but the reality is that smartphones are becoming more ubiquitous with the school-age population. I have always believed that as a society we have given children access to a powerful technology without adequately teaching them how to use it properly (this applies to adults too). As a result, our solutions to related problems and conflicts tend to be reactive rather than proactive.
What can you do? Regularly visit sites like Common Sense Media to stay up on the latest apps and trends; continue to talk to your children about cybersafety and expectations; and when possible seek the advice of experts on how to keep your children safe.
On the subject of experts, I encourage all parents to consider attending SMS' Cyberbullying parent presentation next Monday night at 7:00pm in the SMS cafeteria. Please go here to RSVP. Additional details about the presenter are provided further down in this newsletter.
As I come across resources that I think will help you lead your child through the internet age I will happily share. Please feel free to share with me any resources that you come across.
UPCOMING EVENTS (also posted on website calendar):January
27: End of MP2
30: SMS Cyberbullying Presentation, 7:00pm
2: Report Cards Posted
3: 1/2 Day In-Service
9: 100th Day of School
20-21: No School
23: 5th Grade TREP$ Begins (more details coming soon)
Meet the Teacher....
This month: Mrs. Cindy Reigstad, Physical Education
1. As a physical education instructor, what activities/events do you enjoy leading the most?
All-time favorite is Mini Town, followed by capture the football and elimination.
2. Growing up, what was your favorite sport and did you play any particular sport in high school and/or college?
3. Rumor is that Mr. Ciaburri was a student teacher of yours. What was the most important lesson about teaching that he learned from working with you?
4. Why do you think so many of our students love phys ed class?
5. On a warm summer day, where can we find Mrs. Reigstad?
6. If you could purchase anything you wanted for P/E, what would it be?
Anything?????????? A new gym with wood floors, higher ceilings, full court basketball, indoor turf field, indoor rock climbing system and lots of equipment......Sorry, Mrs. Reigstad, I'm going to have to stop you there. Thank you!
Celebrated Author coming to HMS
Number The Stars: A 5th Grade Novel
SMS CYBERBULLYING PRESENTATION
On Monday, January 30, 2017 the 6th & 7th grade students at the Sparta Middle School will be presented an assembly on Cyberbullying. As part of the program, Sgt. Rich, our cyberbullying expert, will provide an evening program for parents. Please plan to join us on Monday, January 30, 2017 at 7:00 for an informative presentation on cyberbullying. Below you will find a brief bio on Sgt. Rich.
Sergeant Tom Rich, the STOPit Cop, is a 20 year veteran of the Summit Police Department in New Jersey, where he worked as a Patrol Officer, Detective, Juvenile Detective, D.A.R.E. Officer, Juvenile Sergeant, and Patrol Sergeant. Every day, Tom dedicates his career to protecting and empowering children through education and inclusion. He has been a keynote speaker at over 700 events nationally, reaching over 1,000,000 students worldwide. He has been a featured expert on the subject of online safety and cyberbullying for Good Morning America, CNN and Fox television. As the STOPit Cop, Sgt. Rich's goal is to create "teachable moments" to help bridge the gap between students and adults, be they administrators or parents. He aims to open the lines of communication through education and awareness by sharing both the personal and legal consequences of misusing technology, social media, and popular apps like Snapchat and Instagram.