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M-E High Students Learn to Combat Cyberbullying in "Haters and Trolls" Class

MAINE-ENDWELL, N.Y. -

Maine-Endwell High School students are learning how to combat cyberbullies and become better digital citizens through the class “Haters and Trolls”.

"Showing them how to behave online is very important." - Tom Burkhardt, M-E High School Principal

The semester-long course teaches students how to interact with bullies by using kindness, and reminds them that everything they post is permanent.

"Bullying you really can’t escape from cause it’s everywhere. It’s digital, and what we’re doing in this class is we’re training upstanders. We’re training a force of students that go out with a positive message to counteract those negative messages and to put down those people who wanna do negative things on the internet.” - Tom Burkhardt, M-E High School Principal

The class began in 2014 and is all thanks to one teacher, Rachel Murat.

"I just knew that social media was a part of their everyday life, and for the adults as well, and I just felt like if we want them to act responsibly, we need to be able to promote that and show them the right ways to do that. Not just hope that they figure it out on their own.”

Murat’s motto to her students is, “Never make a permanent post on temporary feelings.” She uses that to remind students to be mindful of what they say before clicking that post or comment button.

“The things you’re doing online now, your employers can see it, your colleges can see it. It can cost you a scholarship, it can cost you a job.”

“Haters and Trolls” has 20-25 students per class, and all of them are appreciative of the extra knowledge.

"It was probably one of the best classes I've ever taken in my high school experience. It’s definitely important that we have a good teacher like Mrs. Murat to show us how to do that.” - Casey Adrian, M-E High School Senior

"Just as much as English and Math, stuff like that, you need for your career, this is like just as important.” - Stephanie Muggeo, M-E High School Senior

Murat uses the online learning-management system Schoology to post assignments and collaborate online with students. For more information on the system, click here.

The "Haters and Trolls" course starts back up in the fall of 2018.