With the rise in cyberbullying in schools, the Flagstaff Unified School District (FUSD) governing board has officially updated their student handbook to include a definition for cyberbullying. The change was approved at their final bimonthly board meeting on Tuesday night.

The board members gathered in the FUSD District Administrative Center where a number of issues including cyberbullying were discussed.

FHS senior Makaius Marks addressed the board as the student representative and explained the students themselves were also trying to figure out possible solutions to bullying.

“We thought of the solution of establishing anonymous online reporting and that’s we’re most of the solutions are pointing to as well, online. If it were in physical form, a lot of people could interfere with it,” said Marks.

It seems students feel safer reporting bullying online rather than in person. While the addition of cyberbully is what the board wanted to ensure was covered, other changes were made to the regulation as well.

FUSD Superintendent Michael Penca explained to the board the new policy was still a work in progress with future changes and additions.

“Regulations typically go into more detail and that’s why we’re still working with the administrative team to make sure that our practices for reporting and other things in the regulation are good,” Penca said. “We’ve got work to do on the regulation, this was kind of a first shot.”

The new guidebook definition of cyberbullying states, “cyberbullying includes, but not limited to, any act of bullying committed by use of electronic technology or electronic communication devices, including telephonic devices, social networking and other Internet communications…”

Whether students were even readying the student policy handbook was another topic that was discussed. FUSD board president Kara Kelty asked Marks if students were indeed reading the regulations.

“There are a number, not too high, that do understand the policy and look up to the rules in the codes of conduct. But I know there is a much larger number of students that don’t read it. They just sign off on it and hand it to their [teacher] and say, ‘yeah I read it,’” Marks said.

Other topics discussed included reviewing the board’s legal contract as well as a look at the 2018 voter approved funding, which includes a budget of $8.6 million for the 2019 budget.

An update to the construction of FHS’s new gymnasium floor was also given. The concrete foundation has been laid, however, it will require 30 days to fully cure. The hardwood will also require 30 days to cure and acclimate to the higher elevation. Despite this, construction is still expected to be completed by December.

The FUSD board will convene again Nov. 13.