The classroom door quickly opened. It was my 4th grade teacher, Mrs. Cusamano. She took a step into the classroom, like a marching soldier,
and the door slammed hard behind her. Without saying a word, she slowly stared around the classroom.
Suddenly, with her straight face look, she blurred out, “What is Cyber Bullying?”, asking no one in particular. But it seemed like she was looking straight at me. I asked myself, what did I do and what was she even talking about?
Oh yeah, I thought. It’s another Monday morning, the end of another great all-sports-playing weekend. Is there any way weekends can last forever?
All of a sudden, I knew what was coming. This is Mrs. Cusamano’s way of introducing new stuff to her class. Cyber Bullying must be this week’s new thing.
“How many of you are familiar with SNAP CHATING, INSTAGRAMING or HASHTAGING? These things can be used on the internet to embarrass or hurt someone’s feelings.” Mrs. Cusamano was using big words, like most adults do, to make a point to us kids.
“What is Cyber Bullying, Mrs. Cusamano?”, one of my classmates bravely shouted out without even raising a hand for permission to speak.
Looking over the top of her eyeglasses, Mrs. Cusamano slowly gazed around the classroom, eyeing down each student before answering the question. I guess this is her way of getting the class’s attention. It sure worked on me. I know, I’d rather be outside playing and running around instead of using my phone to hurt someone.
“Well class,” says Mrs. Cusamano, “gone are the days where bullying ends at the sound of the last school bell of the day. Technology, though helpful in many ways, has made it possible for a person to be bullied in different ways. An average cell-phone is a little larger than your palm and weighs less than a pound, but these small devices can start big trouble.”
I’m sure I wasn’t the only kid in class looking down at his or her cell phone, wondering if Mrs. Cusamano was about to take them away. Like most kids, I guess, I needed my phone to do all sorts of important things… like finding the latest sports updates.
I looked up as Mrs. Cusamano looked around to see each one of us looking down at our cell phones and that’s when she made her point on this week’s lesson. “YEESSS,” she blurred out, “look at your phones, because every app on your phone holds a different nightmare for one of your classmates being bullied.”
I think she had the classroom’s attention because she certainly had mine. I started to lean forward to make sure I heard every word. I felt like Mrs. Cusamano was speaking only to me.
“Cyber Bullying,” she raised her voice to make a point on the seriousness of the problem or to make sure she had my attention. “Cyber Bullying has become one of the leading causes in depression among school students and why some of your classmates may not come to school or not play any sports.”
I began questioning myself. Cyber Bullying can stop me from playing sports? I got really nervous, sort of sweaty, as if’ I’d just finished playing basketball or something. Now I really felt like she was talking only to me.
Mrs. Cusamano definitely had my attention and I believe my classmates too. Especially when she started using scary words that Cyber Bullying can lower somebody’s self-esteem, causing self-loathing, which can lead to depression.
I began day dreaming, imagining me walking alone looking all sad. I better learn more about cyber-bullying. I wouldn’t want to hurt any of my friends, classmates or teammates.