Cyberbullying at SRMS

In December of 2021, a recent issue of cyberbullying took place at Sunset Ridge Middle School, one of the middle schools that feeds into Copper Hills High School. A public Instagram account, not affiliated with SRMS, was created with the purpose of bullying and used discriminatory comments against a specific group of students at the school. 

An investigation was immediately opened to find the persons responsible for creating the account. The school’s student body was addressed by Sunset’s administration on their morning announcements, explaining that there had been recent issues with cyberbullying. The school’s principal, Audrey Fish, said, “How you treat and talk to someone matters.” She then explained how this behavior in the school is unacceptable and how all she wants is for her students to feel like they can come to school and feel like they are in a safe, welcoming, and healthy learning environment. 

Ms. Fish and Dr. Tiffany Cooke, Sunset’s vice-principals, explained that they were going to talk to the student body more about cyberbullying during the school’s White Ribbon Week (Jan. 10-14) which is around when this intolerance behavior went on. White Ribbon Week is a program used in schools to help the students learn about why their online choices matter. They also shared that they planned to make the students more aware of some of Jordan School District’s policies. AS94 (Student Discrimination and Harassment) states, “Jordan School District is committed to providing an educational environment that is free from illegal harassment and other forms of discrimination based upon sex, race, color, ethnic background, national origin, religion, gender, creed, age, citizenship, or disability.” Other Jordan District policies Ms. Fish discussed are AS98 (Bullying, Cyberbullying, and Hazing) and AS67 (Discipline of Students). These are a few of the policies that Jordan School District enforces in its schools. “We want trust in our nest,” said Ms. Fish. 

Cyberbullying is a problem that needs to be worked towards being solved. Annie Tabish, a seventh-grade student at Sunset Ridge, said, “I think cyberbullying can affect you mentally by having thoughts like, ‘I’m not good enough,’ or ‘I shouldn’t post that because someone might say something about it.’ I think it can make anyone who is experiencing it really insecure and anxious.” Cyberbullying can take a great toll on a person’s mental well-being. They can feel scared, confused, and hurt. 

Kimberlee Denicke, a freshman student and student body officer at the school, shared her own personal experience with cyberbullying. She explained how she felt scared and confused in the situation that surrounded her. “I feel like Sunset is trying their hardest with the situation, but I don’t think the problem has gone down. They have talked to kids that are cyberbullying other students, but I know people are still getting cyberbullied to this day,” she said. 

Ms. Fish shared that the school is going to be implementing more ways to help with the cyberbullying issue, one of the biggest being their Second Step lessons during their TA class period. The Second Step program is a series of lessons that teach students about the importance of good social and emotional development, safety, and how their choices affect other people. 

In today’s day and age, it’s extremely important to stop cyberbullying. Cyberbullying can cause mental, physical, and social damage to the victims. Working towards change can help better society in so many ways. “I think we all need to learn that everyone is going through something and being kind to everyone can not only impact the other person but yourself and your environment. It’s not hard to just be kind,” said Denicke. Instead of tearing others down, students should be lifting each other up. Simply being kind can create a healthier and more positive learning environment for everyone.