Vallejo H.S. cracks down on cyber bullying

September 17, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
School officials in Vallejo took action Wednesday night to solve a growing problem. Kids are using their cell phones for more than just talking and texting with friends; there is a violent component.

"You can't use your cell phone in school. Girl that's hecka bootsy," said Emily Ector, a high school student.

Whatever that means, Ector is not happy with a new district-wide ban on cell phones, and other electronic recording devices during class hours. One of the main reasons for the ban is due to the number of videotaped fights appearing on the internet.

The videos of school fights on YouTube have become so popular that Vallejo Unified School District officials believe students, are staging brawls, just so they can plaster them on the internet.

"Everybody does it," said Joseph Williams, a Vallejo High School student.
"Really?" asked ABC7.
"Whoever has a camera phone," said Williams.
"And have you seen Vallejo High School fights online?" asked ABC7.
"Uh...YouTube," said Williams.

The district says the videos rarely lead to disciplinary action because of the poor quality. Domenique Adkins agrees.

"Cause I can't tell who they are in the video, and we don't know who took it," said Domenique Adkins, a Vallejo High School student.

Still, one board member worried that the district's own rule may backfire in some cases.

"Sometimes there will be staff misconduct that is videotaped by a student and used legally," said Ward Stewart, Vallejo School Board Member.

The board agreed to make exceptions in rare cases that could put them in a legal bind.

"We're one of the first to step up and say this is unacceptable, and so yes, there may be some risk with us being the first to take the step, but it has to happen," said Jason Hodge, a Vallejo Unified School District spokesperson.

Also prohibited are harassing text messages or recordings that violate privacy in locker rooms and bathrooms, but some students say the ban will be hard to enforce.

"Whether the rule happens or not people will still take videos," said Adkins.

One school board member pointed out that Vallejo isn't the only district facing these issues and she encouraged other districts to adopt similar cell phone bans.


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