Should Schools Be Involved In Disciplining Students For Off-Campus Bullying?

from the cyber-or-otherwise dept

The NY Times is running a long article looking at one of the favorite moral panics of the day: cyberbullying. The specific article questions how schools should be dealing with the issue, especially when it comes to activity that takes place entirely off-campus. The article actually focuses a lot of attention on the middle school principal we wrote about a couple months ago who sent a long email to parents telling them to ban all social networking from their kids -- effectively taking the "head in sand" approach to dealing with these issues. To be fair, in this article, that principal comes off as a lot more reasonable, initially telling angry parents that off-campus activity really is outside of the domain of what the school should be involved in.

In reading through the article, though, part of what struck me is that it seems like some parents are simply trying to get the school to act because they're unwilling to act themselves. Take, for example, this exchange towards the beginning of the article:
Punish him, insisted the parents.

"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.
In other words, there were plenty of paths that the family could have taken, but they didn't want to actually do anything. They wanted the school to act as parents for the kid because they were unwilling to do so. That's not to say these things don't create difficult situations, but it seems like a weak solution when parents just punt the issue and demand that schools handle it. And, of course, the article also highlights cases where parents also get (reasonably) upset when schools punish their kids for off-campus activity.

It's no secret that kids can and will be mean. And with modern communication technology it's easier for kids to be mean directly more often and in much more public ways. That's a challenge, to be sure, but asking schools to handle those issues doesn't seem like an effective or an efficient solution.


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    Rose M. Welch (profile), Jun 30th, 2010 @ 7:09am

    No.

    Flat out no. There's your answer.

    First, teachers and principles are exactly that - they're not the parents of your child. They're not paid enough to deal with what your child does outside of school.

    Second, you shouldn't even want relative strangers to be administering more than the most basic discipline to your child.

    Third, if you really don't want to parent your child, call your local Social Services and drop your child off. Sounds bad? Well, parenting via badly-paid school personnel is just as bad.

    There is a system in place to offer more than basic discipline to a child. It starts with their immediate caregivers.

    There is a system in place to handle children who commit crimes. It starts with your local police station.

    There is a system in place to handle parents who are neglecting their children. It starts with your local Child Protective Services office, or its equivalent.

    Schools need to pick up the phone and call the correct first contact for each system in any case that they believe warrants more than the most basic discipline.

    End of story.

    Thank God that I homeschool.

     

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      quickbrownfox, Jun 30th, 2010 @ 7:42am

      Re: No.

      Rose M. Welch said it best. End of subject.

       

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      res2 (profile), Jun 30th, 2010 @ 8:51am

      Re: No.

      AMEN

       

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      interval (profile), Jun 30th, 2010 @ 9:30am

      Re: No.

      Homeschooling does appear to not only be the growing trend but the solution to throwing your beloved child to a den of wolves in the form of undisciplined murderers and thieves in training who are learning that the state has a vested interest in simply letting them grow up to be the same so it can collect fat incarceration incomes. Take no part in it. Now if we could divest ourselves of those taxes that we are forced to pay for these criminal training grounds.

       

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        Rose M. Welch (profile), Jun 30th, 2010 @ 11:05am

        Re: Re: No.

        My state now takes my taxes and uses it to pay for curriculum through the company that I was already purchasing curriculum from. The dollar amount of the curriculum that they provide me (if I choose to use it, which I do) is more than the dollar amount of my taxes that are used for education, as well as I can figure it. :) In other words, I win. (For now.)

         

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      adri, Jan 31st, 2013 @ 5:37pm

      Re: No.

      ummm yes but ALL the school districts have a policy that all students should treat others = and not less or more and bullies are one of the main reasons for heavy drinking be a bully and also self harm and/or suicide

       

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    Christopher Gizzi (profile), Jun 30th, 2010 @ 7:12am

    Cowards

    When I read that article, the quote about the two parents coaching together stuck out at me, too. Forget the fact they don't solve anything by taking the cowardly way out, it sets a bad example for the child. Instead of dealing with issues directly, you run around it - prolonging the situation and making it worse in many respects. What does that say about conflict resolution and problem solving?

    But I will say this as a new parent: it scares me to think that my child could be the victim of such abusive behavior. Where the fear comes from, though, is not knowing how to properly handle it. As the article says, contacting the police is problematic; contacting the other parent might not work either if they take offense to the accusation or, worse, encourage it (as we've also seen before).

    If the community can come up with a step-by-step plan for dealing with situations like this, perhaps the fear mongering would go away and when this happens, we'd all be able to deal with this in a way that address the bullying and teaches children valuable socail & problem solving lessons.

    At some point, I'll come up with my own plan for dealing with bullies - cyber or otherwise - and do the research to understand the best way to handle the situation based on the severity of the threats. I think they call that... parenting. :-/

     

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      Rose M. Welch (profile), Jun 30th, 2010 @ 7:43am

      Re: Cowards

      A community-wide plan still isn't going to alleviate the problems inherent in contacting other parents. They still might take offense to the accusation, and the ones that would encourage it aren't going to start because of a plan.

      Personally, I'm not going to utilize any community-wide plan that I don't 100% agree with, and I can't see any community making such a plan together. :P

       

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    Ima Fish (profile), Jun 30th, 2010 @ 7:33am

    "Should Schools Be Involved In Disciplining Students For Off-Campus Bullying?"

    No.

    Gee, this test is easy. What else have you got?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 30th, 2010 @ 7:36am

    cyberbullying is the sort of bully tactics that have no boundaries. what is said online doesnt magically disappear as the students enter school. there is no magic trick that makes the comments go away. further, with the advent of smart phones and the line, cyber bullying can happen anywhere, including in the schools.

    this specific item may have happened outside of school, but one would have to be stupid not to think that the students involved would not also bring it into school, and use it as part of intimidation that often happens insider the school, or is carried into the school.

    the principal may feel he is not in a position to do anything, but it wouldnt hurt for him (or her) to bring the bullying student into their office for a talk, at least to discussion the situation and how it might apply in school. making it clear that these tactics will not be tolerated in school would not be a bad move.

     

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      Rose M. Welch (profile), Jun 30th, 2010 @ 7:45am

      Re:

      But those tactics can and will be tolerated in school. They already are tolerated in school. So what's the point of hauling them in for a talk about no teeth?

       

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      SomeGuy (profile), Jun 30th, 2010 @ 7:56am

      Re:

      one would have to be stupid not to think that the students involved would not also bring it into school

      But until they do it's not the under school's responsibility or authority. WHEN they do, then the school authorities can and should act.

      bring the bullying student into their office for a talk

      This would be appropriate once the behavior is exhibited under school authority. Until then you're essentially advising school to punish kids on the acusation, because last I checked going to the principal's office was one (low level) form of punishment.

      making it clear that these tactics will not be tolerated in school would not be a bad move.

      I would expect that to be a standard policy that would be communicated at the beginning of each term; in the absence of actual behavior, reiteration should be unnecessary.

       

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      Marcel de Jong (profile), Jun 30th, 2010 @ 8:26am

      Re:

      making it clear that these tactics will not be tolerated in school would not be a bad move.

      But the actions weren't during school hours. So, where does the school come in?

      If we'd work for the same company, and I'd start pestering you after working hours, do you step to the boss to complain? Or to the proper authorities?

      In this case, the parents are the proper authorities, it was done during their supervision.

      Believe me, I've had to endure a lot of bullying in my time, so, in a way, I'm an expert on this. If it's done during school hours, then yes, the principal should act. If it's done AFTER school, it's the parents problem and they should work it out.
      PERIOD!

       

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        JC, Jun 30th, 2010 @ 11:40am

        Re: Re:

        Your analogy to work is excellent ... except you have it backwards.

        Depending upon the type of "pestering" happening after work hours (for example sexual harassment) your employer may be legally required to do something about it.

        I moved between schools a lot as a child and at the two different middle schools I attended I was teased and bullied relentlessly (as in the police where involved at one point). I couldn't imagine what it would have been like for that to "follow" me home via text messages and social networking.

        I don't know exactly what role a school has but the idea that any kind of bullying can happen "only off school grounds" is a little ridiculous. If one child is constantly bullying another outside of school but only committing more minor infractions at school (but ones that become increasingly traumatic), wouldn't you expect the school to at least separate the students?

        On another note: Who else read the part about the music industry lawyer and his daughter? Who besides me wanted to hunt that guy down and beat him with a stick?

         

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          SomeGuy (profile), Jun 30th, 2010 @ 12:03pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Who besides me wanted to hunt that guy down and beat him with a stick?

          Uhm, why? There are details missing (like, were the other girls suspended, too, or just the one who posted the video?), but it sounds to me like he was just standing up for his daughter's rights and justly limiting the school's authority. He admits that what his daughter did was mean, and he probably should do the decent thing and take the video down, but there's no law against being mean. And even if there was, it's not the school's place to enforce such things.

           

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            JC, Jul 1st, 2010 @ 6:58am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            I meant the "music industry lawyer" making the comment about showing his daughter that the government doesn't have a right to intrude into your private life.

            In addition, any parent who sues a school for discipling a child without consulting the administration, school board, and PTA first deserves to be publicly beaten. I'm not talking about a situation where the school disciplined your child in an inappropriate way (i.e. spanked them, or traumatized them); I'm talking about parents who sue over whether or not the school should have done anything at all. That is a matter which could have been easily resolved at the district level (I knew several parents in high school that brought up a suspension or detention to the school board and had it overturned.)

            If you want details, lookup the story - its out there. His "little girl" is a "little bitch" and deserved a lot worse than what the school dished out. Now instead of learning to be less mean she has learned that daddy can get paid fat loot when her behavior is awful.

             

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              SomeGuy (profile), Jul 1st, 2010 @ 10:24am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              I was talking about the same lawyer, and I stand by my comments. I don't doubt that the "little girl" is anything but sweet and innocent, but that doesn't change whether or not the school had authority to punish her -- nor does it change the fact that it's not illegal to be a bitch. There are plenty of horrible human beings who have broken no laws, I chalk this up as just one more.

              You're probably right about taking it up with the PTS, school board, etc, but the guy was a lawyer -- when the only tool you have is a hammer... -shrugs- I certainly don't think he should be publicly beaten because he took a legal matter (does the school have authority outside of school hours/grounds) to the civil courts.

              And just because there was arguably a bad outcome (bitch remains a bitch) doesn't change the facts over whether or not the school was in the right.

               

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                btr1701 (profile), Jul 3rd, 2010 @ 10:05am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                > I was talking about the same lawyer, and I stand by my comments.

                I think he was commenting on the irony of a music industry lawyer arguing that the government doesn't have a right to intrude in your private life, when he works for an industry that routinely argues that the government should do just that when it comes to things like file-sharing (and that they should do it on behalf of private business).

                 

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          Marcel de Jong (profile), Jul 1st, 2010 @ 3:40am

          Re: Re: Re:

          No-one is stating that it can only happen off school.. I KNOW that it can happen during school hours, and when it happens during school hours, it's the responsibility of the school. As they have the legal care during school hours of the kids that are in class.

          Same as with after work bullying. Your boss has no say in your private life. If it happens in the office, it's his deal, outside of the officehours, it's a job for the police.

           

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            JC, Jul 1st, 2010 @ 6:46am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            First, stop talking about the police. The police are not going to do anything at all about minor harassment unless you have a restraining order - in which case it just became a problem for your boss or the school.

            Second, lets say a boy makes a Facebook group about a girl being a slut and he constantly post mean messages about her. The same boy sends text messages to the girl (obscene but not threatening). Then at school he calls her a slut in the hallway.

            Does the school punish the boy based only on the minor infraction of calling her a slut? Or does the fact that this is part of an ongoing form of harassment come into play? If they didn't go to the same school would this situation have occurred? What happens if one of the two kids is a ward of the state (ie no "responsible parent")?

            To be clear, I don't think this is a black and white issue (i.e. schools are always responsible / schools should never be involved). I'm just playing devils advocate and asking you (and others) to spend more than 5 seconds thinking about this before forming an opinion which you vigorously defend.

             

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              nasch (profile), Jul 1st, 2010 @ 8:15am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              First, stop talking about the police. The police are not going to do anything at all about minor harassment unless you have a restraining order

              Is this conversation only about minor harassment?

              If a kid is doing meth at home, and gets caught with a cigarette at school, should the school bust him for the meth too, or just the cigarette? I think it's appropriate to take such things into consideration, but the punishment should not be increased above the maximum normally allowable for whatever offense the child comitted at school.

               

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    a-dub (profile), Jun 30th, 2010 @ 7:43am

    Parenting? Whats that? If you catch yourself reasoning with your child or repeating yourself to your child, you have failed as a parent. Bullying is a fact of life and it never ends. I had a problem with a bully when I was young. I told my dad about it and he told me to get a big stick and hit him with it...so I did. The only way to stop it is to stand up to it. Bad parenting creates both bullies and wimps. Good parenting teaches a child how to treat others with respect and what to do when someone disrespects/bullies them.

     

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      nasch (profile), Jul 1st, 2010 @ 8:15am

      Re:

      If you catch yourself reasoning with your child or repeating yourself to your child, you have failed as a parent.

      I'm guessing you don't have kids.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 30th, 2010 @ 7:45am

    Geez people, TALK TO EACH OTHER and if that doesn't work: Ask a third party.

    Perhaps they end up in the principals office anyway, but then he would be in charge of working out a solution between both sets of parents and not dishing out punishment on behalf of the school.

     

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    Rose M. Welch (profile), Jun 30th, 2010 @ 7:47am

    How about mandatory counseling for suspected bullying?

    That would be a great deterrent for quite a few children (Who the hell wants to submit to something boring and embarrassing like that?) And it would help children who are bullying, or at least get them in front of someone who can better gauge what services they need.

     

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      SomeGuy (profile), Jun 30th, 2010 @ 7:59am

      Re:

      I would take issue with "suspected bullying," but otherwise I agree. If you have evidence of bullying then that's one thing, but you shouldn't take such action based on suspicion.

       

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        Rose M. Welch (profile), Jun 30th, 2010 @ 10:55am

        Re: Re:

        That's the problem with bullying. Most of it is not overt, and adults can't prove it. Counseling isn't punishment, so I don't see a problem with helping children who may need help. Worst case scenario, it's a waste of time. Worth it, imo.

         

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          SomeGuy (profile), Jun 30th, 2010 @ 11:30am

          Re: Re: Re:

          I'd argue that the worst case scenario would be that the counciling you'd make mandatory has negative effects on some children -- that's not a given, but it's a possibility. I can't imagine you'd be OK with it if your kids were forced to have counciling because someone suspected they didn't behave appropriately.

           

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            Rose M. Welch (profile), Jun 30th, 2010 @ 1:16pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            It's much more possible that continued bullying will have a negative effect on a child... :P

            Counseling is ordered by the lowest level of Child Protective Services all of the time. It's pretty much a CYA so that they can say that they did something if it ever comes up again. If you refuse, your case is referred to court and you can explain your refusal to a judge, who may or may not agree with you.

            Further, my oldest son was suspected of not behaving appropriately several years ago, and I was the first to put him into counseling. If I had chosen not to, I would have had to find a different day care center, which seems appropriate to me.

            Think of it this way. The schools suspects that two children are bullying each other. The school calls the parents. Two weeks later, the signs are still there. The school calls the parents and recommends counseling. If they don't agree to counseling, and the signs are still there, they call CPS. You know the first thing that CPS will do? Recommend counseling.

             

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      Anonymous Coward, Jun 30th, 2010 @ 8:27am

      Re:

      Suspected? Are you out of your mind?

      Catch them in the act (teachers would have to actually pay attention for a change) and then send them to counseling.

      Suspected bullying teaches children that authority figures can subject you to humiliating courses like Bullying Counseling at mere suspicion (read: whim).

      School is about learning the ropes of society. Let's not teach kids to accept being abused by those in power any more than we already do.

       

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        Rose M. Welch (profile), Jun 30th, 2010 @ 11:00am

        Re: Re:

        Adults can humiliate children when they think it's warranted, without proof of need. That's not a bad thing, that's an appropriate thing.

        For instance, alot of parents suspect that their children may decide to have sex, and subject them to embarrassing talks, and even make them take birth control without their consent based on that suspicion. Ohh, evil parents. They should wait until they catch their child in flagrante delicto before taking them to the doctor. :) Or until they catch an STD, or get pregnant. Oh, wait...

        Also, school is not about learning the ropes of society. School isn't even a good place to do so. (Socialization with solely people of your own age and general income level isn't real socialization at all.)

        Let's teach children that bullying isn't acceptable, by targeting children who may need the counseling, and making sure that they get the services that they may need.

         

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          SomeGuy (profile), Jun 30th, 2010 @ 11:51am

          Re: Re: Re:

          For instance, alot of parents suspect that their children may decide to have sex, and subject them to embarrassing talks, and even make them take birth control without their consent based on that suspicion. Ohh, evil parents. They should wait until they catch their child in flagrante delicto before taking them to the doctor. :) Or until they catch an STD, or get pregnant. Oh, wait...

          there is a MAJOR difference between this and your proposed mandated counciling that I would expect you to recognize -- namely, this it is the *parents* imposing restrictions and protections on *their child* in the interest of protecting *that child* from the child's own decisions.

          In your mandated-counciling idea, it's some third party forcing corrections on the child under the suspicion that the child could be a danger to someone else. I wouldn't be (very) bothered if a parent decided to get their kid counciling because they thought he needed it, but it's a much different thing when a third party mandates that same couciling on the basis of suspicion of potential inappropriate behavior.

           

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            Rose M. Welch (profile), Jun 30th, 2010 @ 1:31pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Counseling is ordered by the lowest level of Child Protective Services (a third party) all of the time, even in cases where there is no other evidence of services needed. It's pretty much a CYA so that they can say that they did something. If you refuse, your case is referred to court and you can explain your refusal to a judge, who may or may not agree with you.

            Next, counseling isn't even close to the same thing as a 'correction'. It's only a 'correction' if your child is a bully. If your child isn't a bully, then it's merely boring talk from adults. Or insightful talk to a child who isn't yet bullying, but might in the future without intercession.

            It seems like you think that counseling is a punishment that should only be given to the guilty. I disagree. It's not a punishment, and childish behavior isn't a crime, anyway. Further, we correct children's behavior all the time, without proof that they've misbehaved. We preemptively correct behavior, without any proof that they're going to misbehave. That's our job.

            Next, forced counseling happens all the time in schools. Children who let their grades lapse go speak to the school guidance counselor. Children who have behaved badly go and speak to the principal. The idea of mandatory counseling for bad behavior isn't new, and parents have agreed to it as part of the school disciplinary plan every school year for longer than I've been alive. The difference here is that the counseling would be with someone more qualified than a frustrated administrator.

            You don't want to work within the frame of discipline that the school requires? Withdraw your child. The same would go if you disagree with in-school suspension or detention, which are also a part of the same disciplinary plan that's been the standard in public schools since I was a child.

            I don't think that this idea is perfect, but I do think that it has merit, much more so than suspension or detention for bad behavior, and immeasurably more so than ignoring signs of bad behavior in children because you can't prove it in a court of law.

             

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    Jason, Jun 30th, 2010 @ 7:56am

    All too common in schools

    Even back in 1999 when I did studen teaching this was going on and I can only imagine it got worse. Yes I am not a teacher, mostly because I loved working with the kids but hated dealing with useless parents. Anyhow, one kid had some poor grades, was generally more interested in being the col kid, and as a result was cose to failing his senior year. The kid drove a Mitsubishi 3000 GT, wore designer clothes and generally felt he was better than everyone else. His mother worked in japan 9 months a year, and his older sister, a Sophomore in college, "babysat him" - father not in the picture. The mother came screaming into a conference that it was our fault her son was failing. I guess her total hands off approach had nothing to do with it.

     

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    Chris ODonnell (profile), Jun 30th, 2010 @ 7:58am

    The schools (in the US) have taken over deciding what kids should learn. To a large extent, they have taken over what kids should eat. They increasingly are getting involved outside the sphere of academic education and directing what the kids should think. Is it really any surprise that some parents are more than willing to pretty much outsource all parenting to the schools?

    The correct answer to Mike's question is still no, but I expect school involvement outside of school will become more and more the norm.

     

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    zealeus, Jun 30th, 2010 @ 8:01am

    cyber bullying

    While I agree in premise the bullying off-campus is just that an should not be disciplined on-campus, it's not always as easy as that. One of the major issues we run into is cyber bullying almost always carries over into the classroom. Then, the student comes us to these with these issues. Yes, part of the cyber bullying is off campus, but when they life is also miserable at school as a consequence, does that become something we need to worry about?

    The other reality is that is a kid is being bullied off-campus, they're more than likely also being bullied at school.

     

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      crade (profile), Jun 30th, 2010 @ 8:25am

      Re: cyber bullying

      It is a simple distinction. Schools are responsible for keeping the school environment safe which includes preventing bullying at school. (Whether there is also any cyberbullying done at home is irrelevent)

      They aren't responsible for keeping the home environment safe. This does not mean it isn't "something we need to worry about", it just means the school should notify the proper authority (usually the parents, but potentially child services or whatever) rather than trying to go all vigilante and deal out punishment themselves.

       

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      Rose M. Welch (profile), Jun 30th, 2010 @ 11:02am

      Re: cyber bullying

      Physical abuse and neglect carries into a classroom as well. Should schools be responsible for feeding, clothing, and nurturing children, or should they just call the correct authorities?

       

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    Berenerd (profile), Jun 30th, 2010 @ 8:03am

    Like in all situations ...

    The school's obligation, when they hear such information that is credible, is to notify the parents. That is where their jurisdiction ends. Its up to the parents to contact the authorities or the other child's parents.

     

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      jjmsan (profile), Jun 30th, 2010 @ 3:36pm

      Re: Like in all situations ...

      Schools seem to have no problem getting involved in off site or after hours activities when it is making fun of the principal or student drinking.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 30th, 2010 @ 8:17am

    What are the boundaries?

    Bullying does not respect boundaries. The law is helpless to act in all but the most serious of situations and even when it can act, the sort of person who actively bullies probably doesn't care about the consequences.

    When I send my child to school, I expect them to spend their time learning and not being beaten up by fellow pupils. This includes on the way to school (e.g. the school bus) and in after school activities. It also includes non-physical abuse.

    I agree that the school system should not be a law enforcement agency, they should be involved so as to inform the protagonists of the outcome of their actions and to escalate to the appropriate authorities as necessary.

    It's all very nice to say as adults that you would encourage your kid to stand up for themselves. It's somewhat less amusing when your kid hangs themselves in their bedroom because they can't cope with the bullying.

     

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      crade (profile), Jun 30th, 2010 @ 8:28am

      Re: What are the boundaries?

      The article is talking about things happening at home. Not at school. Obviously the school should deal with bullying occuring at school or in transit operated by them.

       

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      PaulT (profile), Jun 30th, 2010 @ 8:31am

      Re: What are the boundaries?

      I understand what you're saying, and there are grey areas, but from the article:

      "This occurred out of school, on a weekend"

      Why should they have responsibility in this instance? Why should they be the ones to act, not the parents?

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Jun 30th, 2010 @ 8:44am

        Re: Re: What are the boundaries?

        it isnt a question of "this instance". if a kid is getting bullied off campus by a kid he also has to deal with in school. that bullying comes into the school like it or not. it may not be the overt act in front of anyone, but the intimidation that comes with bullying goes with it everywhere.

        the school needs to work to make the time at school as safe as they can. many schools fail. i guess your idea is that until the kid is actually on the floor bleeding, nobody should think about it?

         

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          PaulT (profile), Jun 30th, 2010 @ 8:48am

          Re: Re: Re: What are the boundaries?

          So... that still doesn't explain why the school should get involved when he's not on the premises. During extra curricular activities and commuting I understand. But sitting in his bedroom in his own home, the parents should be responsible.

          Responsible parents would be aware of what's going on and alert the school if necessary. Yes, they can't control or be aware of everything that's going on, but they're got a million times more chance of knowing and direct responsibility than some random teach who hasn't seen the kid for over 48 hours.

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Jun 30th, 2010 @ 11:41am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: What are the boundaries?

            no, you miss it. the school isnt responsible for what happened outside of school, but they are in a position to make sure that it doesnt carry into the school. having a discussion with the bully and making it clear that whatever behavior is happening is not going to be tolerate inside the school is key. if the other student starts to skip school or otherwise avoid coming to school not to see or face the bully, at some point, the school can be part of a bigger solution.

            they are not responsible for what happens outside of school, but they can use what happens outside to guide them in dealing with potential problems inside the school before they happen, rather than waiting for something more serious to happen on premises.

             

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            JC, Jun 30th, 2010 @ 11:49am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: What are the boundaries?

            Fundamental flaw in all of your arguments ... responsible parents.

            Kids who bully don't usually have responsible parents - in many cases the parents are even worse than the child.

            Consider - child A hits child B, parent of child B calls parent of child A. Parent of child A begins a campaign of harassment against parent of child B eventually ending in breaking and entering followed by a physical assault. (this actually happened at a school i attended)

            Its great that the police can take care of the parent problem ... but what is being done for the child, nothing.

             

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              Rose M. Welch (profile), Jun 30th, 2010 @ 1:34pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: What are the boundaries?

              That's not true at all. Studies have shown that children bully. End of story. Yes, troubled children bully more, but most children do bully.

              Further, troubled doesn't mean irresponsible parents. It could mean a parent in the military, the death, traumatic injury, or permanent disability of a parent, sibling, or close family member, or other childhood trauma unrelated to the perfectly responsible parents.

               

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                JC, Jul 1st, 2010 @ 6:11am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: What are the boundaries?

                What's not true? Your definition of responsible parent and mine must differ greatly.

                Most of the "bullying" studies I've read are asinine and basically involve what I would consider normal child like behavior (mild insults, minor physical things like pinching) mis-named bullying. I'm talking about real bullying. I'm talking about one child literally abusing another child over the course of weeks, months, or even years.

                Those type of kids, the real actual problem kids, don't come from homes with "perfectly responsible parents."

                 

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                  Rose M. Welch (profile), Jul 1st, 2010 @ 1:18pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: What are the boundaries?

                  It's not true that 'Kids who bully don't usually have responsible parents. Even kids with responsible parents bully.

                  Insults and physical assault (like pinching) are bullying. Saying that it's not 'real' bullying is like saying that it's okay to pinch and slap your wife because it's not 'real' abuse. The pinching and insults are part of systematic bullying, and pretty much all children do it.

                  Plenty of children have responsible parents, and they still bully. And men who slap their wives are still abusers.

                   

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              nasch (profile), Jul 1st, 2010 @ 8:24am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: What are the boundaries?

              Fundamental flaw in all of your arguments ... responsible parents.

              Kids who bully don't usually have responsible parents - in many cases the parents are even worse than the child.


              If the school administrators judge that the parents are not responsible, should they then step in and take over the role of disciplining that child for off-campus behavior?

               

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                Rose M. Welch (profile), Jul 1st, 2010 @ 1:19pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: What are the boundaries?

                No, they should call Child Protective Services and let them handle it, because that's what CPS is trained to do.

                 

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    RobShaver (profile), Jun 30th, 2010 @ 8:42am

    Do they have library cards?

    If they have library cards then why not have the library give them a fine? That makes as much sense as having the school discipline them for non-school activities.

     

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    reverent1, Jun 30th, 2010 @ 8:46am

    your missing the point of free public education

    “Do you charge us with wanting to stop the exploitation of children by their parents ? To this crime we plead guilty… But, you say, we destroy the most hallowed of relations, when we replace home education by social… The bourgeois clap-trap about the family and education, about the hallowed co-relation of parents and child, becomes all the more disgusting, the more, by the action of Modern Industry, all the family ties among the proletarians are torn asunder, and their children transformed into simple articles of commerce and instruments of labour.” Karl Marx

    This has been the whole plan folks as crazy as that sounds. Do you think a parent can compete against the school ? I realize that some parents spend loads of time with the kids but many more do not, can not or do not want to. It's like a Sunday school teacher competing against free public education. The slant is obvious in that a couple hours versus a work week do you think that child's faith will be in question after the state religion is force-fed ? What's worse is the push for children to be introduced to the state-nanny at an earlier age.

     

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      Cipher-0, Jul 1st, 2010 @ 3:35pm

      Re: your missing the point of free public education

      Many people spent their school years taking illogical, pointless orders from morons and having their will to live systematically crushed.
      And people say school doesn't prepare kids for the real world.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 30th, 2010 @ 9:41am

    What do you do?

    The point of this, isn't the parents of the bully, it's the victims parents. You go to the police, they won't do anything. Go to the parents of the bully, it's probably learned behavior anyway. It's just a desperate try at anything, in hopes of stopping it.

     

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    NAMELESS.ONE, Jun 30th, 2010 @ 9:49am

    UM i dunno but i think......

    um er we has this thing , this set of two creatures called parents.

    THEY um er are supposed to do these things called er um a whats that...PARENTING.

    PERHAPS a mental test before being allowed ot have kids would be better angle.

     

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    Andrew F (profile), Jun 30th, 2010 @ 9:53am

    Read the article

    Humorously enough, it turns out the boy accused of cyberbullying was actually innocent.

    The boy was a poor student in language arts classes, yet the text messages were reasonably grammatical. Mr. Wu dictated a basic sentence for the boy to write down. It was riddled with errors.
    Next, an elementary school principal interviewed the fifth-grade boys separately.
    By Thursday, Mr. Orsini telephoned the girl's parents with his unsettling conclusion:
    The boy had never sent the texts. The lost phone had been found by someone else and used to send the messages. Who wrote them? A reference or two might suggest another sixth grader.

    Which raises another issue -- how can you expect a school to deal with cyberbullying when the bully might not even be a student at that school?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 30th, 2010 @ 11:14am

    My take on those things.

    We live in a community it is everybody's responsibility to teach those children, emphases on the teaching part if you get a children doing something wrong you go tell them what is wrong and what will happen, you call their parents but you don't punish them that is not the role of others but the parents.

    When parents get angry at other people talking to their children they should get discriminated inside that group until either they move or fall into compliance.

    That said the school should have the power to do something about it, not punishment but at the very least the capability to force the young ones to listen to a very long boring lecture, and parents should be shamed into doing something.

     

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    Gary (profile), Jun 30th, 2010 @ 11:27am

    bullies

    The schools should worry about what The child is doing in the schoo. The parents should worry about what the child is doing ALL the time.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 30th, 2010 @ 11:41am

    As a community

    Everybody should be involved not only the schools but the neighbourhood, stores, people on the streets etc.

    Should the school or anyone else have the power to punish those kids?

    Nope, should they have the power to force them to listen to a long boring lecture sure, should we be able to discriminate lazy, coward parents sure.

    This is a social responsibility where everyone should be involved.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 30th, 2010 @ 11:46am

    As a community

    Bullying happens children will do it because they don't know any better it may be a fase or something but it happens.

    Maybe the parents should be forced to apologize to the victims in person with their kids present, so they know they will hurt their family when they do so.

     

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    MD (profile), Jun 30th, 2010 @ 11:58am

    All I see is a lot of uneducated parents allowing their children to have access to various forms of technology that enable this behavior. When bullying was still in our physical lives, students were punished, usually at home and at school. Now that we have this other digital life to interact with, there is a degree of anonymity and a self empowered sense of invulnerability that everyone has.

    "Social networking" does nothing but provide another medium for bullying. It allows those too weak to do anything in person to hide behind a computer screen and think they are big and bad.

    A wise person once said "There can be no justice without punishment." How is punishment acheived in this digital realm? Take it away. CHILDREN should not be allowed to have the use of technology without supervision. They are too immature, too young, and not smart enough to understand how vulnerable they are to the threats within this digital life.

    The schools and educators are just helpless here b/c a majority of the drama that transpires on these social networking sites stems from events at the schools. Where does their authority to investigate and punish end?

    Society and technology enables this behavior. We have no one else to blame but ourselves.

     

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    nasch (profile), Jul 1st, 2010 @ 8:28am

    Punishment

    I wonder if the punishment for bullying by a boy would be to wear a big pink floppy frilly hat all day at school for a week, if that would cut down on it any. Seems like the middle school bullies I remember would rather get eaten alive than seen in public wearing something girly.

     

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    Evan Cohen, Jul 1st, 2010 @ 11:42am

    The Constitution

    I am the lawyer at issue.

    Our case was about the limits of governmental power. The posting on YouTube had nothing to do with the school whatsoever. You can read Judge Wilson's extensive decision, and you will get the picture.

    Someone had to stand up for the Constitution, and that person was me.

    Evan Cohen, Los Angeles

     

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      Rose M. Welch (profile), Jul 1st, 2010 @ 1:20pm

      Re: The Constitution

      Why don't you spell out 'the picture'?

       

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        SomeGuy (profile), Jul 2nd, 2010 @ 5:00am

        Re: Re: The Constitution

        The picture, from the sounds of the decision (found here) is that the girl was arguing that the school was violating her First Amendment rights to free speech and violated her right to due process. The Due Process claim isn't addressed in the linked decision.

        The video was recoded, encouraged, and distributed by The Daughter, but she didn't say anything herself, only other students did. The school had all students involved "write a statement" about the video, and told The Daughter to remove it from YouTube and her home computer, and then suspended her for two days. no other students involved were punished.

        It esentially boils down to the Daughter arguing that the school had no right to discipline her for off-campus speech which, hurtful though it may have been, this video was.

         

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    Evan Cohen, Jul 1st, 2010 @ 1:33pm

    The Constitution

    There was a link to Judge Wilson's 60-page decision in the New York Times article.

    Furthermore, here is the video:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j6LM6tWNoQo

    What does this video, or the whole matter in general, have to do with school? NOTHING. It didn't happen at school. Students can't even log on to YouTube at school.

    So, where is the power to suspend?

     

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    Evan Cohen, Jul 5th, 2010 @ 5:00pm

    What?

    Irony? What?

    The case was about the limits of governmental power, that, is, can a student be punished for off-campus speech? The answer is NO.

    In the other instance you bring up, the issue is whether or not you have the right to steal music, and whether, if you do, you can be sued for copyright infringement. It is not the government suing you; rather, it is the RIAA, a trade group. What does that have to do with the government OR free speech?

    Get your facts straight.

     

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      nasch (profile), Jul 5th, 2010 @ 7:18pm

      Re: What?

      In the other instance you bring up, the issue is whether or not you have the right to steal music, and whether, if you do, you can be sued for copyright infringement.

      Obviously not. If you stole music, you might be charged with theft or shoplifting or something, but I'm sure you know that's totally different from copyright infringement, right?

       

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    Evan Cohen, Jul 5th, 2010 @ 7:39pm

    What?

    Not really. Both involve intentional thievery.

     

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      nasch (profile), Jul 5th, 2010 @ 9:18pm

      Re: What?

      And you say you're a lawyer? That's kind of scary. Oh wait, you're an entertainment industry lawyer. So even if you do understand the difference, your money depends on not understanding it, or at least making sure others don't understand it. So you will either willfully misunderstand, or just lie and hope others will believe you.

      Around here, we will not believe you; we already know it's a lie.

       

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      SomeGuy (profile), Jul 7th, 2010 @ 5:03am

      Re: What?

      Here's where I disagee with you, Evan.

       

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    Evan Cohen, Jul 6th, 2010 @ 4:52pm

    What?

    Class warfare? How original. Your arguments, such as they are, are tired and boring.

    Just one more copyright infringer mouthing off. Big deal.

    I'm not here to debate the propriety of copyright law with miscreants, so this is going to have to be my last post.

     

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    anonymous, Jan 10th, 2014 @ 4:08pm

    They Should Be Suspended for Bullying on Any Bus

    I've noticed school children including college students harassing other people on the bus either from their school or people who have disabilities. They need to learn that this behavior is unacceptable and there should be police on school trippers who can report any misconduct to that school and the students can basically suffer the consequences.

     

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