Cyberbullying Solutions: Jan. 8th shooting victim Ron Barber weighs in.
Reporter: Valerie Cavazos
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Ron Barber envisions Tucson soon becoming an anti-bullying community. "Because this issue goes beyond schools, it goes into adulthood, and the workplace," said Barber.
In fact, it's become the primary focus of his Fund for Civility, Respect and Understanding. His staff is currently working with about a dozen schools in Tucson and Phoenix. For that reason, we sat down with Barber to show him 9OYS' cyberbullying series -- launched last week. The series started with a deperate mother's effort to stop the relentless online taunts aimed at her middle school daughter -- to no avail.
"Obviously the parent did the right thing. She reached out to the school for help," said Barber, but he believes the solutions are too often addressed on a surface level.
"You have to go deeper. You have to provide really specific things to teachers and administrators and parents to stop bullying - to get out in front of bullying."
To start, he says, a clear definition of bullying and cyberbulling is needed --- another topic of our series. "Obviously we need a definition everyone buys into and what are the procedures in school in reporting and supporting children when they come forward."
Barber says his fund's research points to making concerted efforts to stop bullying at the front lines. "So what we have to do is give the kids the tools and courage to at least report it if they feel like they can't stand up in that situation."
Since the social media craze is a recent phenomenom -- cyberbullying resources can be scarce or ineffective. So Barber suggests that the state needs to examine current and new anti-bullying practices to determine what's working and what's not. "You have to go in with evidence based practice because so much is coming at teachers and administrators. We have to have proof and that it's not just an idea that we've conjured up," said Barber.
One idea -- though -- that Barber and his staff has conjured up is a way to get some students to become engage in anti-bullying efforts. He is inviting students to create 30 second public service announcments -- with the theme Stand up, Speak out, End bullying. The contest begins February 21st and continues to the end of March. Prizes will be given and the winning videos will air on local television and radio stations.
More information could be found at endofbullying.com.