VIRAL VICTIMS: Cyber bullying problem increases - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

VIRAL VICTIMS: Cyber bullying problem increases

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RANKIN COUNTY, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

School fights in classrooms, hallways and in the lunch room are nothing new, but cell phones and social media are now taking it to a new realm. Many feel it is now turning into cyber bullying and causing lasting harm.

The fights are violent, vicious and time after time they are being caught on video at schools across the nation with no one really being able to stop them from happening.

FOX 40 NEWS has obtained disturbing video from a Jackson Public School brawl and also a fight at Richland High School in Rankin County that was posted on twitter.

The Richland video only lasted around 20 seconds, but the impression lasts forever especially for Misty Stennett.

“It is heartbreaking for this to go on at school,” said Stennett.

Stennett's daughter is the teen in the video being attacked as she walked out of class. A classmate allegedly ran up and savagely beat and tackled her to the floor.

“She had blood all over her, her lip was busted, and her arm was swollen because she had hit the cement," said Stennett. "There are so many emotions as a parent. You think when you send your child to school it is safe and it is not.” 

The cell phone fight video has gone viral. The distraught mother said her daughter's peers are teasing and taunting her constantly on social media sites and it's physically and emotionally hurting her.

“It is very upsetting because I had to take her out of school and home school her because she is terrified to go back to school,” added Stennett

Megan Burns is a friend of Misty's daughter and admits she feels her pain.

“I have been bullied in my past and then snapchatting," said the teen. "It was just like, embarrassing.” 

Megan’s mother, Lisa Stanley is also upset about the violence and cyber bullying.  

“It is absolutely ridiculous, it is nonsense, it is the parents fault,” said Stanley.

We reached out to officials with the Rankin County District and Jackson Public Schools to find out what's being done to fight against cyber bullying and get a hold of these cell phones.

Rankin County Schools sent us the following statement:

“As we work on our strategic plan, we will be including more classroom time for our counselors to educate our students on the important issues as well as the consequences of bullying, cyber bullying, drug use, and improper internet use.”

Jackson Public Schools had this to say:

“As part of its commitment to a safe learning environment, a Tip Line has been created for Students, parents, employees and others may report any suspicious activity.”

But what would make teens want to use their fist and phones to embarrass and intimidate their classmates? Rankin County Judge Tom Broome sees a lot of these cases.

“When you have children who may not have role models or mentors they look up to on how to handle stress, how to handle themselves and conduct themselves, then it puts them at risk of doing things that they shouldn't do," said Judge Broome.

His advice to parents and teachers is simple.

“Children need to know their boundaries because they don't know the dangers that lurk out there on the internet and it's imperative the parents help those boundaries get set,” added the Judge.

Lisa Stanley agrees and as a mom she has tried to take matters into her own hands to fix the problem, but it is not easy.  

“Really there is no way to control it," said Stanley. "I have reported a few pages to twitter, I have reported a few pages to Facebook, but even in that it calls for an investigation and they have to deem it as bullying for them to pull it down as well.” 

Her daughter Megan has started a Facebook page and support group that focuses on stomping out bullying.

“I think if we can create a unit between the students than I think it will stop,” said Megan.

Both school districts have active bullying policies. Rankin County school officials say students are permitted to have cell phones in school. Jackson Public School officials say middle and high school students can also have phones with limited use, primarily for instructional purposes.

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