The saying goes, "sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me." But the truth is, words do hurt.
And the addition of name-calling and rumors spreading on social media enhances bullying in schools, according to a counselor at Richboro Middle School.
"Cyber bullying does not replace regular bullying. It just enhances it," counselor Aimee Kosta said. "Kids still make fun in the lunchroom and hallway, and it can be amped up by the Internet."
The good thing about the Internet is that sometimes cyberbullying can be proved by printing out facebook messages, Kosta said. But "bullies are savvy now and don't want to get caught" so they find ways to remain anonymous.
"Kids go in anonymously and write mean things about others and it's hurtful," she said. "It's a new level of bullying. It's just not happening in the classroom."
Kosta said there was a point when cyberbullying was considered something that happened outside of schools, but with the changes in technology and its use in the schools, "we definitely have seen a shift."
"Anything that's trickling over into schools," she said, "we address it."
The school board policy includes communication over the Internet in its Social Media Guidelines.
"When a student's posting disrupts the school setting or involves cyberbullying or other violations of the school's Student Code of Conduct or Discipline Policies, Council Rock may take measures to discipline the student for that speech," according to the guidelines.
Kosta said that discipline can include suspension or expulsion, but the decision is left to the school principals.
"We can't suspend them for just writing something nasty," she said. But if it affects the students over and over again the families get involved and measures are taken. "But I haven't had to deal with a lot of excessive cyber stuff."
Though cyberbullying hasn't played a huge role in Kosta's two years at Richboro Middle School or her previous four years at Holland Middle School, it still happens.
One in five students admit that they have been a victim of cyberbulling, and 50 percent of teachers polled online felt that it's common for students to receive threatening messages through their cell phones, according to a cyberbullying presentation held at Churchville Elementary in January 2012.
Since not all students come forward about cyberbullying because it may happen at home, the schools work on prevention and encourage parents to get involved.
"I communicate with parents about what their kids are doing and encourage families to talk about it," Kosta said. "Because families might not know what their kids are doing online."
Another way some schools are working to stop bullying is to get the bystanders involved. Research shows that there is a huge group of kids who aren't being bullies and aren't being targets, Kosta said. Those students need to get involved.
The staff needs to empower the middle group she said, by explaining that they are the majority.
"If everyone stood up and said stop, it would make the bullies feel bad and they would eventually stop," Kosta said. "They need to stand up for kids without a voice."
This is the thought process behind Holland Elementary School's Olweus Bully Prevention Program, which asks students to "Be a Buddy not a Bystander."
But until every bystander student, teacher and parent gets on board, bullying will continue.
"We all have those stories from middle school. We've all gone through those times where you feel like everyone is out to get you." Kosta said. "It's going to keep happening, unfortunately. It's human nature."