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Jan 9, 2012 11:17 PM by Erin Schermele

Havre teachers unveil online safety, etiquette course

Two new laws from the 2011 Montana Legislature regarding cyber-stalking and cyber-bullying has inspired two Havre High School teachers to create some new lesson plans.

The new class, which launched on Monday, teaches students the definitions, ethics, and consequences of being a "cyber-citizen."

Vicki Proctor, a business teacher at Havre High School, noted, "We're finding within our students that we felt they were unprepared to be cyber- citizens in a cyber-community, and in this unrestrained domain where there are no rules or regulations as far as what is appropriate and inappropriate actions.

Karen Murri, a fellow business teacher, said, "We heard, we listened to students and you hear them talk. You know, there wasn't anything specific, there wasn't a specific student that had a problem but we thought, you know this is coming, and we wanted our students to be aware of the safety and the ethics and the ramifications...of what happens."

The five-day class launched Monday, and will be taught to freshman in a mandatory Applied Technologies course.

Students will learn definitions of certain cyber-actions as well as appropriate etiquette.

Murri said, "I think it will help students understand what cyber-bullying is, what cyber-harrassment is. Because at times I'm wondering if they even realize what they are doing."

Proctor added, "This is just not a student world out there, this is an adult world and you can come to an adult and tell them if these incidents are happening to them or any cite that they are located on."

The two teachers say coming up with the idea for the class was easy, but creating the material proved to be a challenge; Proctor said, "What's really neat about this is we are truly entering into the students' world and we are expecting the students to really guide us along, too. We are eager to see what their input is because we are stepping in their space."

The teachers plan to continuously develop the curriculum each semester, and hope to get parents involved in the near future.

The class will also cover legal music sharing procedures and identity theft protection.

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