UNION, NJ – As part of the Township’s Bully-Free Zone Cyberbullying Certification Program, an educational session on understanding and preventing cyberbullying will be held on March 1.

“The phenomenon of cyberbullying isn’t native to Union,” said Mayor Suzette Cavadas.  “Union is taking the first innovative step toward ensuring that safe online spaces are a top priority.”

The free event will feature a screening of the documentary “Cyberbullies:  A Killer Network” and a presentation on understanding cyberbullying from Dawn Correia, Special State Investigator and Acting Union County Detective Juvenile Unit, Union County Prosecutor's Office, and Jill Hall, Student Assistance Counselor, Township of Union Public Schools.

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The event is appropriate for people of all ages who spend time online.  The registration deadline is Wednesday, Feb. 28.  The event will be held at Town Hall and begins at 6:30 p.m.  To register visit www.uniontownship.com.

The Bully-Free Zone Cyberbullying Certification Program targets pages, forums and groups on social media platforms where Union residents engage with each other, and where the Township engages with them.

“This program asks for administrators of social media forums and groups to take a stand with us against negative, detrimental online behavior and to set a precedent for future generations,” said Cavadas.

In addition to attending the March 1 event, to receive a bully-free zone certification, administrators must also:

·      Make a commitment to their members that the administrator will not tolerate cyberbullying by creating and posting a set of guidelines that prohibit harassment, flaming, taunting, exclusion, outing, masquerading and cyber stalking.  The administrator must create a method of enforcement and enact consequences, including warnings and temporary or permanent removal from the social media site.

·      Watch the ‘Union Stands Against Cyberbullying’ video and complete a subsequent questionnaire.

Once certified, a StandAgainstBullyingBadge will be embedded in the site’s cover photo.

During her New Year’s Day speech, Cavadas said the Township will no longer share information into third-party groups or pages that are not “Bully-Free Certified”.   She also said the Township will be working with local businesses to run special promotions and contests in “bully-free” groups.