Cell Phone Bullying at School

As long as there have been school yards and cafeterias, there's been bullying. Just not exactly like this.

A Highlands Middle School survey on bullying, sent out to every student, came back with the kind of answers principal Mary Adams was expecting. Any bullying is too much, according to Adams, but she says the students didn't seem to express anything out of the ordinary. Except the anonymous tip about students using camera phones to take pictures of girls going to the bathroom.

Adams says the school has never had any allegation like this, and is not sure at this point if there's anything truth to it. Either way, she says, it shows how the phones can be abused. And there are a lot of them at school. "At least 50 to 60% of our kids are bringing a phone every day," she says. Students say that number is probably more like 80%.

Like many Tri-State schools, Highlands Middle allows cell phones. Adams say parents prefer it that way, because of safety issues and it's easier to keep track of their kids after school.

Whether it's peer pressure to have a phone, or invasion of privacy by using it in inappropriate ways, or even intimidation of both; Adams says the potential is there. "Things can be used that way," she says. "It can be very detrimental and another very serious form of bullying or harassment."

Even if the allegation turns out not to be true, dealing with cell phones are one of those technical difficulties schools will probably have for a long time. "Unfortunately I expect that to be a problem we're going to have to deal with more each year," Adams says.