Cyber bullying incident at school

Kirkbie Kendal School has taken extra steps to alert pupils and parents to what it claims are the potential dangers of a global Internet site used by millions of school children around the world, reports Caroline Beamish.

Staff at the school received a number of complaints claiming a personal web page within the bebo.com site - a social space in which user profiles can be listed school by school - had been used inappropriately.

Deputy head teacher Patrick Earnshaw said: "There has been an incident in which a small number of students have received short, fixed term exclusions for posting inappropriate information on bebo.

"In having the material removed from the site it has become apparent that a lot of young people in Kendal, like other areas across the country, are using it - most to maintain friendships legitimately and communicate with each other.

"But this is a public website and people can post messages and engage in chat online with others without there being any way to tell whether they are genuine."

Mr Earnshaw added: "The Internet and mobile phones do present an opportunity for bullying and this is something we have addressed again in school this week. Fortunately, we have a lot of support from parents and the community and this situation was brought to our attention quickly this week."

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Bebo.com, which has 22 million users worldwide, was unavailable for comment at the time the Westmorland Gazette went to press. See this week's issue for full story.

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