RKA students stand up against cyberbullying
By Sarina Trangle
Malalia Siafa-Bangura, 12, swayed her shoulders and bopped her head while singing lyrics criticizing cyberbullying with accompaniment from five fellow David A. Stein Riverdale/Kingsbridge Academy, MS/HS 141, sixth-graders.
“If you let me, here’s what I’ll do. I’ll tell you cyberbullying isn’t cool,” Malalia crooned.
She and her friends performed a remixed version of Drake and Rihanna’s duet “Take Care,” as a final project for an Internet safety program sixth-graders completed.
After finishing Cablevision’s “internet smarts” series detailing the consequences of digital permanence, the need to protect your identity online and techniques to prevent cyberbullying, students invited PS 24 fifth-graders, parents and politicians to an Internet Safety and Awareness Program on June 8.
Several sixth-graders said they chose to design skits, videos and Jeopardy-style games about cyberbullying because use of the Internet to mock classmates has become a common complaint among middle school students.
Malalia said she endured a former classmate’s taunting of her on Facebook for the past year and wanted to use lyrics to let fifth-graders know they shouldn’t remain quiet about cyberbullying. She never told her mother or teachers about the digital hassling because she didn’t want to be viewed as a “snitch.” The teasing escalated until Malalia said the IN-Tech Academy, MS/HS 368 sixth-grader threatened to beat her up if she saw her in their neighborhood.
When classmates began gossiping about the threat in the RKA hallways, Malalia said school officials contacted her mother who got the police involved.
“I want them to know it [cyberbullying] can ruin someone else’s life and it just shouldn’t happen at all,” said Malalia, a Kingsbridge resident. “Right away, tell an adult. Don’t even wait a few days because if you wait, the problem gets worse.”
KeywordsSarina Trangle, Malalia Siafa-Bangura, MS/HS 141, cyberbullying, RKA, Jeffrey Dinowitz, Sen. Jeffrey Klein,