Bismarck News

Bismarck Public Schools create anti-bullying task force

Social media can be an incredibly useful tool if handled responsibly. But all too often it's a gateway to bullying. Bismarck Public Schools is stepping up by informing parents and Shelby Rose has the story.

Childhood bullying is not the same as it was 20 years ago. 

"We have children for a large part of the day, but what we've seen now is the shift in bullying is happening outside school hours on social media," said superintendent Tamara Uselman.

So, Bismarck Public Schools put together a taskforce to tackle the issue and talk to parents. Emily Schmid was a BPS student not too long ago and experienced online bullying firsthand. She was able to get the help she needed and now spreads that message to others. 

"It's really big on informing parents and teachers and students because social media and bullying is a big area where it's very grey. Not a lot of people know how to handle it. And it's something that can really impact a person's life," said Schmid.

Around 20 Bismarck parents attended the meeting Tuesday evening to get some insight from Emily and panelists from other backgrounds. A school resource officer, youth pastor, and school counsolers were all able to share different perspectives into bullying in school and online. 

"Us as parents, we're right there beside them. It's difficult being a parent, but it is a job that we can all do togther," said parent LaRhonda Baier. 

BPS spreads bullying awareness in its schools constantly. But Uselman says parents play a vital role in the efforts. And Baier agrees wholeheartedly.

"I think everybody needs to know where we stand on this issue, whether it's at school, whether it's in the workplace, whether it's driving on the street."

And she says the way adults treat eachother online can set that standard for kids to do the same.

If you missed tonight's meeting, there are two more: March 20th at 6:30 p.m., hosted at Horizon Middle and March 26th at 6:30 p.m., hosted at Wachter Middle. 

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