Online Bullies Pull Schools Into the Fray

Jan Hoffman:

The girl’s parents, wild with outrage and fear, showed the principal the text messages: a dozen shocking, sexually explicit threats, sent to their daughter the previous Saturday night from the cellphone of a 12-year-old boy. Both children were sixth graders at Benjamin Franklin Middle School in Ridgewood, N.J.
“I said, ‘This occurred out of school, on a weekend,’ ” recalled the principal, Tony Orsini. “We can’t discipline him.”
Had they contacted the boy’s family, he asked.
Too awkward, they replied. The fathers coach sports together.
What about the police, Mr. Orsini asked.
A criminal investigation would be protracted, the parents had decided, its outcome uncertain. They wanted immediate action.
They pleaded: “Help us.”

One thought on “Online Bullies Pull Schools Into the Fray”

  1. The first step to cyberbulling is to take the communication devices away from the children — both the victim to prevent further victimization, and the offender. The parents of these children must realize that whether or not a school gets involved or is even allowed to get involved in mediating this type of behaviour it is THEIR responsibility to monitor their children’s activities. Because what happens outside of school time ultimately ends up in the school should give the school some clear authority on how they can proceed. That parents feel awkward dealing with each other when their children clearly misbehave should be re-examined — it is not any child’s right to harm another child an it is both parents responsibility to put an immediate end to that behaviour. Because the offense is clearly documentable, first approaching the offending child’s parents with this evidence should put them on notice that they need to do something. Bullying has gone on since time began and it will not stop. The only problem is that since bullying has gone electronic and can be dispatched all over the world, it has become something that should be criminalized. The finger tap on a keyboard is more powerful than a sword.
    Stephanie Mcnealy
    Customer Service Team

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