Bullying, Online Safety, Drugs Discussed at Bay District Schools Administrators Workshop

Almost a month after the tragic death of Surf Side Middle School student Gabriella Green, conversations about bullying continue. Tuesday morning the Panama City Beach Police, Bay County Sheriff's Office and Panhandle Crime Stoppers talked to school administrators about the issue at a mandatory workshop.

The room filled with Bay District Schools principals watched as Beach Police  Lt.. J.R. Talamantez posed as a 13-year-old girl and chatted with a complete stranger on an online site called Omegle.  

"This type of criminal has the ability to camouflage themselves unlike any other criminal out there," said Lt. Talamantez. 

The workshop tackled tough and sometimes graphic situations regarding online predators, bullying and drugs.  

"What we're trying to do is not to just provide parents with names of apps that are dangerous, what we are trying to do is to show that social media apps are dangerous in general," said Lt. Talamentez.

"I just think we need to arm them with the best information we can and help to educate them and their parents," said Bay District Schools Superintendent Bill Husfelt. 

According to the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, 75 percent of teens report sharing personal information about their family or themselves to strangers online. 

"I trust my child, I just don't trust my child with people I don't know. And when you give your child a cell phone with unlimited activity, or unlimited access, you are trusting your child with the world," said Lt. Talamantez. 

"We are working with the principals for ways to get these messages to their students. what venues and when. So that's the coordination part of it that's going on right now," said Husfelt.

"I'm excited to see how we can use it in elementary, lots of great information today. I'm a parent and an administrator so I found it super beneficial from both stand points today," said Southport Elementary School Principal Holly Buchanan. 

The Panama City Beach Police will hold a workshop for parents and their children on February 15th from 6:30-8 p.m. at the Majestic Beach Resort on Panama City Beach. 

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