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Allegheny County Bar Association’s "Don’t be a Cyberbully!" Program

Students participating at Don't be a Cyberbully ProgramLast year, the Allegheny County Bar Association was asked by a counselor at Fairview Elementary School in Fox Chapel to have attorneys speak to its 5th grade class about cyberbullying. The school has hosted the bar association’s “This is a Joke – Making Fun of Others is Not!” Program several times for its 3rd and 4th grade classes, but wanted the bar to specifically address cyberbullying.

Tom Loftus, the ACBA’s Director of Marketing and Media Relations, who had created This is  Joke – Making Fun of Others is Not!”, wrote a lesson plan for the bar’s new school program “Don’t Be a Cyberbully!” He and Jennifer Pulice, Esq., the Bar’s Director of Communications, rolled out the program last spring at Fairview Elementary and has now been presented at other schools.

Don’t Be A Cyberbully builds on the key messages of This is a Joke while focusing on children making fun of others through technology. Our attorneys share their personal stories of cyberbullying and bullying while discussing the good and bad ways to use Facebook, texting, tweeting, emailing and other forms of electronic communications. The attorneys discuss how students can spot and report cyberbullying, and what they can do if they are victims of cyberbullies.

Students are taught about what ramifications come with being a cyberbully and why their texts and facebook postings can remain long after they have deleted. Most importantly, students are taught that even though they only shared a message or text that someone else created, they can be viewed as being a cyberbully.

For more information, contact Tom Loftus at tloftus@acba.org.