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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Comments on “Should Schools Be Involved In Disciplining Students For Off-Campus Bullying?”

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Rose M. Welch (profile) says:


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.

interval (profile) says:

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.

Rose M. Welch (profile) says:

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.)

Christopher Gizzi (profile) says:


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. :-/

Rose M. Welch (profile) says:

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. 😛

Anonymous Coward says:

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.

SomeGuy (profile) says:

Re: 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.

Marcel de Jong (profile) says:

Re: 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.

JC says:

Re: 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?

SomeGuy (profile) says:

Re: 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.

JC says:

Re: Re: Re:2 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.

SomeGuy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 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.

btr1701 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 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).

Marcel de Jong (profile) says:

Re: 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.

JC says:

Re: Re: Re:2 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.

nasch (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 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.

a-dub (profile) says:

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.

SomeGuy (profile) says:

Re: 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.

Rose M. Welch (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

It’s much more possible that continued bullying will have a negative effect on a child… 😛

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.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: 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.

Rose M. Welch (profile) says:

Re: 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.

SomeGuy (profile) says:

Re: 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.

Rose M. Welch (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 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.

Jason says:

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.

Chris ODonnell (profile) says:

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.

zealeus (profile) says:

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.

crade (profile) says:

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.

Anonymous Coward says:

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.

Anonymous Coward says:

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?

PaulT (profile) says:

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.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 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.

JC says:

Re: Re: Re:2 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.

Rose M. Welch (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 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.

JC says:

Re: Re: Re:4 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.”

Rose M. Welch (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 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.

nasch (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 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?

reverent1 (user link) says:

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.

Andrew F (profile) says:

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?

Anonymous Coward says:

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.

Anonymous Coward says:

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.

MD (profile) says:

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.

Evan Cohen (profile) says:

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

SomeGuy (profile) says:

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.

Evan Cohen (profile) says:

The Constitution

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

Furthermore, here is the video:

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?

Evan Cohen (profile) says:


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.

nasch (profile) says:

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?

nasch (profile) says:

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.

anonymous says:

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.

Diana H says:


That’s true but I think schools should get a handle in it because some of the stuff could be happening in school and the girl would have to see the boy every single day for the rest of the school year. And considering that you are homeschooled doesn’t really show that you know much about it. I am from a public school so I know about the bullies and how the victims react to them. Its worst if people read the comment the person wrote about you and everyone at school heard about. I get the whole parents thing about not wanting to take things into their own hands but that still doesn’t mean the school shouldn’t get involved.

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