Jordan Profeta, Staff Writer

Students could argue that in WHB, cyberbullying is not something that regularly occurs. However, cyberbullying happens across 33.8% of high schools. With that percentage you are more likely to be cyber bullied than to have blue eyes.

Cyberbullying comes in many forms: exclusion, harassment, doxing, insulting, and in most recent events, creating instagram accounts. Though most cyberbullying is noticeable, it still occurs unseen in some cases.

Junior Kylah Avery had a cyberbullying experience where she went viral and was hated and threatened by other WHB students. Because of an opinion that Kylah expressed on social media, students backlashed. Kylah said, “I believe the ridicule that I got both online and in person was completely unjustified and the things that were said to me were horrible.” 

She handled the hate by finding humor in it with people that supported her, however she was still very hurt by friends that started hating on her. “It was more hurtful to see people that I knew and were friends with bullied me because they know who I truly am…but that doesn’t mean it didn’t hurt when I saw people I don’t know sending death threats.” 

Kylah handled the hate smoothly, which could unfortunately be difficult for others. Approximately 54% of students that are cyberbullied choose to not speak up about it. An anonymous WHB student admitted to being cyberbullied but not speak up about it. They said, “I did not want to be victimized, bullied even more, and for it to become a bigger deal.” This person admitted to being called several harsh names and harassed with false accusations.

Though some students struggle to speak out, Assistant Principal Mrs. Pillittier encourages students to speak up, and gave an insight about how cyberbullying is handled in school. She explained that cyberbullying goes hand in hand with any other form of bullying, and as soon as there are multiple issues with the same people, the consequences start to roll in. 

“We will speak to the student who is claiming to be bullied, if it’s cyberbullying hopefully there is proof. If it is ongoing there is a conversation to the other student and in more serious and recurring cases that have been recently addressed will have consequences with an in school suspension, and to a higher degree of what is said or done, the student will have the consequence of an out of school suspension and we will speak with their parents.” 

Along with Mrs. Pillittier, WHBHS’s Social Worker Mrs. Gebhardt gives advice to those being cyberbullied and encourages students to tell a trusted person about their abuse so the problem could hopefully be resolved while still staying confidential.

“Our health classes have a unit for bullying prevention. We have had things in the past like random acts of kindness, no place for hate, and start with hello, and we are looking into challenge day and other things that work on creating an inclusive and positive environment.”

While explaining how bullying is currently prevented at WHB, she gives insight on how the counseling department can help a student. Mrs. Gebhardt says, “Usually the student goes to administration for the bullying and then I come in after to try to support them and help them understand they’re not to blame, help them cope with their effects, build them up and protect their growth.”

Before entering the highschool, eighth graders from WHB watch a video and presentation about what not to do on the internet, and cyberbullying. However, in a random poll of 50 students, only 21 remember the video. Most of the students that said yes responded with, “Was that the video with the naked mole rat?” which was a comical part of the video, which implies that the point of the presentation was missed.

Students from East Moriches clearly did not get to see the presentation at all, but multiple students from the school claimed that EMO didn’t do anything to show cyberbullying prevention.

Cyberbullying is commonly missed just as much as it is seen. If you are being cyberbullied it is important to speak to a trusted adult and know you are not alone. WHB is working hard to start planning more preventative measures for cyberbullying.