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US Ed Dept Demanding Principals Censor More

samzenpus posted more than 3 years ago | from the sticks-and-stones dept.

Censorship 493

Toe, The writes "Education Department officials are threatening school principals with lawsuits if they fail to monitor and curb students' lunchtime chat and evening Facebook time for expressing ideas and words that are deemed to be harassment of some students. Under the new interpretation of civil rights laws, principals and their schools are legally liable if they fail to curb 'harassment' of students, even if it takes place outside the school, on Facebook or in private conversation. When children are concerned, where is the line between protection and censorship?"

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The Land of the Free (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35513810)

WTF!

Re:The Land of the Free (5, Insightful)

perpetual pessimist (1245416) | more than 3 years ago | (#35513918)

It's always been difficult to learn about "the land of the free" in an institution where you (the students) are forced by law to go there whether you want to or not.

Excellent training ground for applied sarcasm and irony appreciation, though.

Re:The Land of the Free (2, Insightful)

Neil Boekend (1854906) | more than 3 years ago | (#35514118)

Then again: letting kids choose not to go to school has to great a chance to have them go to crime or welfare once they are grown up. The autodidacts are a small group compared to the kids who would crash without school (and thus we should first be considerate of the greater group). It's sad they cannot function to their greatest potential, but sacrifices have to be made assuming you want to let all kids go to the same school.
If you'd have the autodidacts go to a Montessori school (I only know it from my education, I haven't been to one myself) you could have them blossom to their maximum capacity, but normal kid's can't function in a Montessori school.

Re:The Land of the Free (1)

the_womble (580291) | more than 3 years ago | (#35514296)

I thought home education was legal in the US.

Re:The Land of the Free (5, Interesting)

cappp (1822388) | more than 3 years ago | (#35513996)

Before the hysteria reaches epic proportions, the advisory itself can be found here [ed.gov] (pdf). It's a pretty quick read, only 10 pages, and sadly enough lacks any mention of enforcing rules outside of school, forced indoctrination, political correctness, or secret Muslim plots. TFA however makes for some nice slanted coverage, if anyone is looking for a chuckle I encourage you to read it.

Oh yeah, kids have limited consitutional rights - especially in education.

Re:The Land of the Free (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35514252)

Oh yeah, kids have limited consitutional rights - especially in education.

Where in the Constitution does it say that?

Re:The Land of the Free (4, Informative)

cappp (1822388) | more than 3 years ago | (#35514324)

Sections 1 and 2 of Article 3 [wikipedia.org] wherein the Supreme Court is established and it's jurisdiction defined. That court has, in turn, interpreted the constitution and found that children are treated differently under the law. Consider for example Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District [wikipedia.org] where the court "allow[ed] schools to forbid conduct that would "materially and substantially interfere with the requirements of appropriate discipline in the operation of the school." It is a murky legal area that reflects a complicated judical question about fundamental fairness.

Re:The Land of the Free (3, Funny)

zach_the_lizard (1317619) | more than 3 years ago | (#35514520)

In other words, it doesn't, but the same organization that said that growing wheat on one's own property for one's own use can be regulated by Congress under the Commerce Clause has said it is, so there.

Re:The Land of the Free (1)

thisnamestoolong (1584383) | more than 3 years ago | (#35514576)

The First Amendment only protects you from government prosecution. Getting suspended from school clearly does not count. The most helpful way to think of it is to imagine that the school is your employer. If you worked for the Federal government, you would not imagine that simply because your boss was a government employee that you had full First Amendment rights at your job and could freely tell him to fuck off, right? School is the same thing. Students can't be criminally prosecuted for anything that you or I couldn't be prosecuted for, but they can provide discipline within the confines of that system for speech that would otherwise be protected by the First Amendment.

Re:The Land of the Free (2)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#35514254)

While I have no doubt that some power-tripping admin will manage to fuck it up somewhere, there is the convenient (in this context) fact that most schoolyard harassment is garden-variety apolitical nastiness, the suppression of which imperils the constitution approximately as much as your angry neighbors forcing you to keep your 3am party to below a certain level of noise...

Ludicrous (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35513848)

On the one hand we teach kids about the Constitution and Bill of Rights. On the other hand, we tell them "Hey johhny - what you say can get you in trouble if you make fun of that fat kid in the playground...

Whatever happened to "sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me?" Have we become such a bunch of pussies that we can't even deal with having people call us bad names? What ever happened to "hey - here's two pairs of boxing gloves - go behind the gym and work it out?"

And finally, doesn't the Dept of Ed have ANYTHING else to deal with besides this BS?

Re:Ludicrous (3, Insightful)

Hazel Bergeron (2015538) | more than 3 years ago | (#35513874)

Whatever happened to "sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me?"

I want to put an early Godwin in this thread: Hitler happened. The nastiest people don't hurt anyone directly. They merely influence people's opinion.

The US has the most powerful propaganda machine on the planet. Do you discount this entirely? Is the brain not just another organ which can be trained in a particular direction?

What ever happened to "hey - here's two pairs of boxing gloves - go behind the gym and work it out?"

Are you serious? The solution to bullies is to get physically fit and beat them up? Self-defence is entirely acceptable [dailymotion.com] , but corporal punishment is not justice.

Re:Ludicrous (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35514154)

You contribute to the pussification of America if you think two kids boxing always involves one "beating the other up." Next you'll say motorcycles are certainly fatal and should be banned from the highways.

Re:Ludicrous (1)

Hazel Bergeron (2015538) | more than 3 years ago | (#35514272)

Straw man. I never said that "two kids boxing always involves one beating the other up".

The suggestion in context was getting the victim and the bully to box each other as a solution to bullying. This remains absurd.

Re:Ludicrous (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35514408)

Allowing two kids to briefly spar - even when one of them is diminutive - usually settles grudges pretty quickly. It's because they're not normally allowed to that is why you get this passive-aggressive coward who willingly lets other kids beat up on him. Even a 90lb girl can land a solid hit if she's practiced enough.

Re:Ludicrous (1)

Hazel Bergeron (2015538) | more than 3 years ago | (#35514490)

A bully isn't just someone with a "grudge" to settle with another individual, is he? A bit of competitive physical sport may help temper certain rivalries if both individuals are suited to it and reasonably well matched, but it's not a general solution - and doesn't seem to be a particular solution to bullying. Speaking personally as someone with a head injury, boxing is never going to be my first choice anyway, though I used to enjoy a bit of fencing :-).

I'm not sure why you think a bully victim is necessarily either passive-aggressive or a coward. It's not the physically stronger person who is the successful bully (see link above - the bullies there seemed to be the guys behind the camera egging on the little kid), but the one who is able to exert the most influence. Destruction of one of the bully's minions is just going to teach the bully to choose stronger minions.

Re:Ludicrous (1)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | more than 3 years ago | (#35514172)

I want to put an early Godwin in this thread: Hitler happened. The nastiest people don't hurt anyone directly. They merely influence people's opinion.

The US has the most powerful propaganda machine on the planet. Do you discount this entirely? Is the brain not just another organ which can be trained in a particular direction?

What does that have to do with not being offended by mere words and responding to the situation logically?

I do agree with your second point, though. I believe that initiating violence is idiotic.

Re:Ludicrous (3, Insightful)

Hazel Bergeron (2015538) | more than 3 years ago | (#35514310)

What does that have to do with not being offended by mere words and responding to the situation logically?

How do you logically respond to Hitler? Do you note that he has not killed anyone with his own hands and ask him nicely to step aside for a friendly chat? If he ignores you, do you just shrug and let him carry on? Do you tell his victims that he's an insane little man and that, if you're not standing up to him, you're just weak?

Most verbal bullies aren't powerful because they call you names. They're powerful because they influence others' behaviour toward their victim. If you take aside the grunt who throws the punch, you're not solving the problem - you're removing a symptom.

The US seems to fail to understand this in foreign policy, too. Contrast how the IRA has been neutered and ETA more recently tackled.

Re:Ludicrous (1)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | more than 3 years ago | (#35514380)

How do you logically respond to Hitler?

By analyzing what he is saying and either accepting or dismissing it based on its truth value (and recognizing mere opinions). Do not be so easily influenced by words.

Most verbal bullies aren't powerful because they call you names.

They're not powerful at all. It's just that others are weak-minded. Also, many weak-minded people are affected emotionally (in the negative sense) by words, which was partly was I was speaking of.

They're powerful because they influence others' behaviour toward their victim.

This is also what I was speaking of. This shouldn't happen, obviously. If it does, too bad. People shouldn't be so easily influenced (emotionally or otherwise) by mere words.

If you take aside the grunt who throws the punch, you're not solving the problem - you're removing a symptom.

You're ridding yourself of weak-minded people. They are the only problem.

Re:Ludicrous (2)

Hazel Bergeron (2015538) | more than 3 years ago | (#35514590)

People shouldn't be so easily influenced (emotionally or otherwise) by mere words.

Alternative reality fallacy. People are easily influenced by words. You're essentially saying that the problem is that we've evolved wrongly and that our brains should be perfectly rational (and by your definition of rational). Who will strike the first blow to eliminate this imperfect species and all similarly behaving primates, and replace it with yours?

Anyway, the influence may benefit the influenced. Many people have a better life at school thanks to being one of the bully grunts. Perhaps the "weak-minded" guy is the one who stands alone and has to constantly fight the group? Not every lonely nerd ends up being a superhero after graduation.

Re:Ludicrous (1)

HungryHobo (1314109) | more than 3 years ago | (#35514456)

The former(ya right) political wing of the IRA has gotten people elected into the dail and various positions of power in northern ireland.
They've scaled back because the catholics/republicans in the north are being treated like crap less.
Giving them a voice cut down on the violence, the exact opposite of your insane claims.

You respond to hitler by not supporting him and by speaking out against him, not by shooting him.
that just creates a martyr to his cause and a replacement arises out of the cesspool that pushed someone like that into power.

on a related note you can't anti-invoke godwins law to make it not count when comparing something as trivial as school bullies to hitler thus according to the ancient traditions of the internet the debate is over, your side has automatically lost.

Re:Ludicrous (1)

Hazel Bergeron (2015538) | more than 3 years ago | (#35514540)

Giving them a voice cut down on the violence, the exact opposite of your insane claims.

That was precisely my point. The problem of violence is not solved by taking out the symptoms (violent footsoldiers), but by dealing with the cause (the smarter guy who can exert influence). To say that nothing needs to be done except with those who throw a punch is nonsense.

You respond to hitler by not supporting him and by speaking out against him, not by shooting him.
that just creates a martyr to his cause and a replacement arises out of the cesspool that pushed someone like that into power.

No-one's arguing for "shooting him", are they? And a cause doesn't emerge out of nowhere: it needs clever individuals to weave a framework. It is these individuals who need neutering. In the early stages, you might be able to debate with them, just as you might reason with or speak out against the nascent bully. But once they're commanding an army, whether at school or in war, they become directly responsible for the suffering of their victims. Their loss of freedom is moral unless they choose to give up arms - the very choice given to IRA and ETA.

Would you punish only the footsoldier and let Hitler go free? The former did the killing; the latter was only giving orders.

Re:Ludicrous (3, Interesting)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 3 years ago | (#35513900)

On the one hand we teach kids about the Constitution and Bill of Rights. On the other hand, we tell them "Hey johhny - what you say can get you in trouble if you make fun of that fat kid in the playground...

To be fair, they'll face the same thing when they get jobs and try to use facebook there.

And finally, doesn't the Dept of Ed have ANYTHING else to deal with besides this BS?

Maybe not with their budget? Saying "crack down on hate speech on facebook" probably doesn't cost as much as buying new textbooks.

Whatever happened to "sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me?" Have we become such a bunch of pussies that we can't even deal with having people call us bad names? What ever happened to "hey - here's two pairs of boxing gloves - go behind the gym and work it out?"

Joking aside, I hear what you're saying, but TFA points out the suicide rate among gay and lesbian students is 4 times that of straight students. I'm not saying that justifies trampling on free speech off school grounds, but saying "work it out" is a little simplistic.

Re:Ludicrous (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35514248)

Hmm, both things that the 1920's would classify as mental conditions, coincidence? Okay, that was trollish, but our cultural shift to "be whatever makes you happy at the moment and don't worry about why such behavior was frowned upon in the past" leads kids to that same short turn thinking that slashdoters rail against in the corporate world. Choosing to be openly gay comes with a cost - I'm not saying it should, but it does - and we should probably consider that before cheering on "coming out day", etc.

Re:Ludicrous (1, Interesting)

thisnamestoolong (1584383) | more than 3 years ago | (#35514688)

That "behavior" was frowned upon in the past because people used to be even more pig-headed and blinded by their fucking sky-fairy stories than they are today. There is absolutely no reason that being openly gay ought to come with any cost. Being the ones who assess that cost (the bigots) against gays and lesbians needs to become very costly. I'm not going to say that homophobia ought to be criminally prosecutable, but it ought to be considered totally unacceptable on the social level. Make anti-gay slurs at school? You get suspended for a week. Do it at work? You get fired. We really need to stop the bullshit now.

Re:Ludicrous (-1, Troll)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | more than 3 years ago | (#35514284)

Joking aside, I hear what you're saying, but TFA points out the suicide rate among gay and lesbian students is 4 times that of straight students.

People with minds that weak typically do fall quite early. Perhaps it's because of the reasons I listed in my other comment? [slashdot.org]

Re:Ludicrous (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35513908)

Whatever happened to "sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me?"

It turned out to be wrong. That happened.

Re:Ludicrous (1)

jpapon (1877296) | more than 3 years ago | (#35513968)

AC has a point. Words CAN hurt you. Especially when they're words like "I hear so-and-so is a faggot, we should do something about it" posted on Facebook, that everyone from your school sees. Sure, words can't punch you... but they sure as hell can encourage people to punch you.

Re:Ludicrous (1)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | more than 3 years ago | (#35514074)

Another thing about this is that words don't tend to hurt if something is said once, but when the kid has to go into these situations and hear these things over and over again the affect is cumulative and can be VERY damaging. Bullying works to damage these kids because the bullies have a captive audience day after day after day. If you, as an adult, had a room mate that constantly called you a "faggot" and verbally abuse you every day you'd have the option of leaving (not trying to get into a domestic violence argument, I know how hard that is for women), but a child has no choice in the situation. Hell, the way they get treated they don't even have a choice in the classes they take even as they get older.

Re:Ludicrous (1)

therealkevinkretz (1585825) | more than 3 years ago | (#35514478)

This is f*'ed. It's not the schools business what a student says in a non-school forum, and it's unconstitutional for a compulsory-attendance government school administrator to censor that outside expression.

To compare school bullies to Hitler is nearly insane. If a student is really posting something that incites violence or harassment, then hand it off to the cops. But if there's no law being broken, there's nothing for a school principal to say about it.

Re:Ludicrous (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35514548)

Hear, hear! School administrators are only responsible for what happens on school grounds. That's the way it should be.

Re:Ludicrous (1)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 3 years ago | (#35514122)

AC has a point. Words CAN hurt you. Especially when they're words like "I hear so-and-so is a faggot, we should do something about it" posted on Facebook, that everyone from your school sees. Sure, words can't punch you... but they sure as hell can encourage people to punch you.

Or even worse "so and so said that Muhammad was a pedo and burned a qur'an". Instant death sentence

Re:Ludicrous (1)

thisnamestoolong (1584383) | more than 3 years ago | (#35514712)

Agreed. Although I would like to say that as evolved social creatures, the words themselves can be intensely damaging. While we should not let others' words harm us, they do cut to the core of our self-image, as or self-image is entirely informed by the way others act towards us.

Well... (1)

Demena (966987) | more than 3 years ago | (#35514026)

"Who will rid me of this turbulent priest"...

Re:Ludicrous (1)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | more than 3 years ago | (#35514164)

It did? It seems completely right for me. You just need to realize how pointless and petty everything truly is. Words cannot hurt you. They can only hurt you if you let them hurt you. This does not apply to physical violence.

Re:Ludicrous (2)

Fractal Dice (696349) | more than 3 years ago | (#35513992)

Bashir: They broke seven of your transverse ribs and fractured your clavical.
Garak: Ah, but I got off several cutting remarks which no doubt did serious damage to their egos.
Bashir: Garak, this isn't funny.
Garak: I'm serious, doctor! Thanks to your administrations I'm almost completely healed but the damage I did to them will last a lifetime.

Re:Ludicrous (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35514430)

There's no way we're properly teaching the Constitution and Bill of Rights or this wouldn't happen. I think in today's curriculum they're taught as some old yellow paper some dead guys used.

The job of a school is to provide a service. As far as I'm concerned, if your kid disrupts the learning experience for the rest he can go into some separate delinquent program or make french fries for the rest of his life. We have to make getting an education a desirable social goal like it is in other cultures. Right now in America it's just some boring thing the government makes you do.

Re:Ludicrous (1)

pasv (755179) | more than 3 years ago | (#35514618)

I agree with the parent, this is crazy. But if they don't want it to happen during school time they should simply not allow cellphones or laptops. The school computers should block facebook and noneducational sites anyway, it'll only distract them from their work (and if they're smart enough to webproxy around it: they'll violate the terms of use anyway) . And everything they do outside of school is not the school's concern it's the parents or the local police. Now if that bullying where to be present on campus physically it would be one thing. But as soon as it takes to the streets and the nets I can't see liability on the school's part. They used to tell us that from the time you leave school right up to the time before you enter your doorstep the school is responsible. And I personally think this is bullcrap. But this is just my humble opinion of an already broken system.

Re:Ludicrous (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35514694)

Whatever happened to "sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me?"

It's a lie. It always was a lie, and it always will be a lie, unless you're an unfeeling automaton with no emotions or social needs whatsoever.

Have we become such a bunch of pussies that we can't even deal with having people call us bad names?

No, we haven't become that, we've always been it, throughout all of human (and pre-human) history. We can tolerate and shrug off a certain amount of name-calling, but systematic bullying will affect you. Like it or not, we're a social species, and peer recognition and acceptance is important to us and plays a huge role in how we feel.

What ever happened to "hey - here's two pairs of boxing gloves - go behind the gym and work it out?"

That's been tried time and again, and it doesn't work, either. The bully's likely to be stronger than the victim, and the victim's already infused with feelings of inadequacy, inferiority and worthlessness, anyway, so it'll just end up with the bully beating up the victim on top of calling them names. There's instances where a smaller kid goes ballistic on a bully, of course, but those tend to be situations where the victim was not actually hurt to the core (yet), so your proposed solution fails to address the actual problem.

Now, that said...

I do think that THIS particular proposal, the one discussed in TFA, is a load of bull, too, but for a different reason. Ask yourself this: why do schools have authority over students in the first place? The reason is that they are acting in loco parentis: in the parents' stead, while the parents are away and unable exercise their authority. However, once the students are home again in the evening, the parents (or legal guardians) are there, and whatever justification the school had to assert authority has, by definition, vanished. If there is a problem with student behavior after school, the school needs to take it up with the parents.

The Government cares about you. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35513860)

I'm so glad the government is getting involved in the day-to-day activities of the students. This will make everything better!

Soon they'll be tapping into laptop cameras and filming what the students are doing in their bedrooms.

Re:The Government cares about you. (1)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 3 years ago | (#35514232)

Let's just hope the students aren't smart enough to create fake Facebook accounts/groups to harass people from.

exploding babys; pleas go unanswered (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35513862)

not unexpected, quite disheartening/painful. we'll try back at #1 to see if we're asking too much;

all will please disarm immediately. you have no idea what you're doing, to us, yourselves. please stop at once. thanks.

eugenics programs still happening (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35513952)

so, if the live rounds don't get us....

uncle sam; baby rescue/salvage 'too complex' (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35514078)

just yesterday, there were reports of staple punctures, & failed lunch orders, at the million dollar a day meetings of the 'can't we wait/defer' committee. deferments are ongoing. if anybody thinks that's easy, they can just go starve/die.

OUTSIDE of the school? Facebook!? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35513876)

Ok hold on, I can understand dealing with kids in hallways, or locking down school computer access and whatnot, but off school hours? Limiting kids' speech at lunch? Besides the entire privacy and free speech aspect, how exactly do they propose to do this without massive amounts of money and manpower, and the inevitable legal fees that will accumulate once the lawsuits start pouring in?

-As a warning, don't read the comments in the article, your brain will start to melt.

Not entireley unreasonable (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35513882)

This doesn't sound nice but in general I'm not sure teenagers should be entitled to full freedom of expression about each other. Other things perhaps but not each other. Not being responsible for your actions cuts both ways.

Subject smubject! (3, Interesting)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 3 years ago | (#35513888)

What kids do outside of school, in their own time with their own equipment, is no business of the schools. It's down to the parents.

Worked in (UK) education for 7 years. I offer advice and training to teachers to introduce safeguarding and online safety into the curriculum, and so far have positive feedback. What the kids do at home, however, isn't our business.

Re:Subject smubject! (3, Insightful)

TheTurtlesMoves (1442727) | more than 3 years ago | (#35513906)

You made the fundamentally flawed assumption that parents want to raise their kids. They don't*, they want the government to do it and they want to bitch about what a bad job the government does too.

* OK so there are plenty of parents that do raise their own kids, but this article not really about them.

Re:Subject smubject! (1)

Luckyo (1726890) | more than 3 years ago | (#35513920)

It's worth noting that it in fact has not worked all that well. UK ranks #1 in Western Europe in youth crime.

Re:Subject smubject! (1)

jpapon (1877296) | more than 3 years ago | (#35514006)

The problem is that what they do outside of school comes into the school.

Student A and student B don't interact outside of school. Student A posts slander about B on Facebook, outside of school. Students C through Z read said slander, and now the whole school believes it, and student B gets beat up by students D & F because they think B is gay. Ipso facto, what happened outside of school has now strongly affected what happens inside of school. Student A gets away with no punishment, because they didn't do the punching, they just instigated it.

Re:Subject smubject! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35514088)

And, that teaches students C-Z not to believe everything they read online(assuming D&F are kicked out of/suspended from school) -- though at the expense of B. But, if the school wants, it can simply prevent B from getting beaten up too much(teachers should intervene immediately after the fight starts)

Re:Subject smubject! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35514348)

Maybe I'm naive, but does this really happen? Rumors leading to someone becoming a social pariah - middle and high school girls in particular are known to be brutal in this regard - but I'd think there would have to be more motivation than that to pick a fight directly. Trading insults resulting in a fight I can see, but just because Student A badmouthed Student B, D & F decide to beat him up on a whim?

I had a couple idiots think it was fun to use quirt guns on the bus and a quick call from one parent to another put a rather quick stop to it. Same should happen here - "Hi Jim, your son, Dennis, has been calling my little Johnny names online and it is causing trouble at school. Can you talk to him and put a stop to this?" "Dennis should know better than that. Don't worry it shouldn't happen again, but if it does, please let me know." *Dennis tongue lashing ensues*

Re:Subject smubject! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35514142)

So you're basically of the opinion that the schools just should run every aspect of our childrens' lives, because they spend some of their time in that school -- and, following suit, our employers should be 100% interested in everything we do outside work, because there's a chance it may enter the work place, right?

Deal with the problems that present themselves at your doorstep. This is garbage. This is bureaucrats raising children. I think by the point that students D through F beat people up based on a single rumor there's been a massive failure in raising those kids that frankly won't be fixed by principals trolling facebook student pages. I mean, what exactly would change? Student A would get in trouble, and the school would have an announcement that B IS NOT ACTUALLY GAY, DO NOT SPREAD RUMORS ABOUT B BEING GAY, ATTENTION, B IS NOT GAY. Yeah effective.

This is dumb.

Re:Subject smubject! (1)

therealkevinkretz (1585825) | more than 3 years ago | (#35514492)

Right. D & F are wrong. Unless A suggested hurting B, he might be a douchebag but not a criminal.

Where are the parents? (2)

mr100percent (57156) | more than 3 years ago | (#35513916)

This strikes me as a profoundly bad idea. While we're delegating parental responsibility over to the principal (which is weird), are we also going to hold them accountable if the kids aren't vaccinated or eating healthy enough?

Re:Where are the parents? (1)

metalmaster (1005171) | more than 3 years ago | (#35514128)

You may jest but....

Here is the Government regulated food program [usda.gov] and I believe school health officials are permitted to give vaccines too. The local school district sends out flyers and pamphlets about early childhood vaccinations, why they're important and if you cant get them through your doctor that the school can provide them.

Re:Where are the parents? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35514178)

We do this in NZ too. I think the ap was being sarcastic though.

The school can't be asked to know everything. (?) (0)

migla (1099771) | more than 3 years ago | (#35513938)

I didn't rtfa, but surely there is some qualification of reasonability? If the school could reasonably be expected to know about harassment (like if they're told about it or it's witnessed as blatantly obviously out there), they should try their best to do something about it.

Poor values and negative reinforcement (5, Insightful)

Dutchmaan (442553) | more than 3 years ago | (#35513940)

We keep on addressing effect after effect, when we need to be addressing the cause of the problems. Our problems don't stem from Facebook or music or video games, they come from the 'values' in our society. Our 'me first' attitude of competition is coming home to roost. Don't like bullying, well guess what, it's been taught to us from day one to 'win' and to kick someone when they're down so we can stay on top. From kids to corporate america to congress we need a values 'regime change'. Imagine what our country would be like if we were taught from day one to think of the other guy first.. and to help people succeed so that they can be around to help us when we're down. Negative reinforcement from the time we're kids to young adult hood to the workplace... and people wonder why everyone is always afraid these days. I think my boss summed it up for me one day when talking about the company.. he said "It's all punishment and no reward." seems like a fair assessment of our society.

Re:Poor values and negative reinforcement (1)

migla (1099771) | more than 3 years ago | (#35514144)

And it's not just the values, of course, but also the fact that the society is very stratified. And the warmongering and the death penalty and the imprisonment of a comparatively large part of the population... All these things of course contribute to reinforce those values.

And the lie that is the American Dream, that the US is the land of the free and the land of opportunity, that you can make it here if you just put your mind to it, will contribute to many a desperate poor soul. For some the opportunities are true, but for most they aren't, but they think it is, so they blame themselves for not making it. Maybe? Or so I've heard.

Re:Poor values and negative reinforcement (1)

therealkevinkretz (1585825) | more than 3 years ago | (#35514508)

"society is very stratified"

You're using class warfare to explain *bullying* now? Christ.

somene please help me (2)

Kosi (589267) | more than 3 years ago | (#35513956)

When exactly did the USA remove the right of free speech from their constitution?

Re:somene please help me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35514002)

Bush administration...

Re:somene please help me (5, Insightful)

Manip (656104) | more than 3 years ago | (#35514038)

1969. When free speech in schools could be curtailed if it "substantial interference with school discipline or the rights of others." Since then it has been further limited. 1988, school newspapers censored, and 2007 suspending a student for wearing an offensive t-shirt OFF school premises.

I think it is an interesting area for debate, particularly when state education is legally required. But then again I guess teachers need to have some level of control. I think the most controversial area is if school should have any input into what students do in their own time rather than the police.

Re:somene please help me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35514532)

What's the difference between what these kids are doing and a US political campaign? Mudslinging and bullying existed long before Facebook and the Internet we just didn't waste money and time buying the paper needed to make a poster or sandwich board: hey kids toughen up, speak up and out.

Re:somene please help me (1)

therealkevinkretz (1585825) | more than 3 years ago | (#35514538)

The first two examples concern behavior *in* school, which isn't really apropos. And I can't find reference to the 2007 example - can you provide more detail?

Re:somene please help me (1)

Anzya (464805) | more than 3 years ago | (#35514046)

Children in USA has never had them in school. No rights, only obligations. It's an violation of Convention on the Rights of the Child, article 12. Stating that child has the right to express themselves. USA and Somalia is the only two countries within the UN that has not signed the agreement.

Remember a story of a kid who got suspended for wearing a pepsi t-shirt in school during a photo op for Coca Cola. Might have been vice versa.
Ain't that great though? We force you to participate and earn money of your face and punish you if you don't comply.

Re:somene please help me (4, Insightful)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | more than 3 years ago | (#35514096)

Children as seen as a commodity and chattel in the U.S. I know this will get modded as "Troll" or something, but it has to be said. We don't really see children as human in the U.S. We certainly don't treat them as humans. Even in this thread you can see people see "teenagers" as a totally other species.

Re:somene please help me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35514218)

That’s to teach them how the corporations and Government will treat them as adults.
Got brainwash them when they're young, or they will start to think for themselves.
First lesson is There is no hope.
Second lesson is The Government and the corporations and authority figures know all.
Third lesson is There is REALLY no hope.
Fourth lesson is The Almighty Buck is your God. ...

As for me, I found this pair of sunglasses ...

Re:somene please help me (2)

Sique (173459) | more than 3 years ago | (#35514244)

Germany didn't ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child yet. So it's not only the US and Somalia.

Re:somene please help me (1)

moortak (1273582) | more than 3 years ago | (#35514390)

We used to actually pretend to give kids rights. The Tinker case contained a pretty key quote on that issue. "First Amendment rights, applied in light of the special characteristics of the school environment, are available to teachers and students. It can hardly be argued that either students or teachers shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate. "

Principles need to lay down the law. (4, Funny)

Kaenneth (82978) | more than 3 years ago | (#35513958)

"Hello students, this is your principle seaking, I'd like to remind you that bullying will not be tolerated, in particular, calling Josh Smith a 'whiny little faggot' or 'a little bitch' because he complained about being bullied to school staff is not acceptable. Anyone seen beating him up after school behind the gym, which is out of line of sight from any teacher office, will be disciplined."

Make parents responsible instead (2)

Tigger's Pet (130655) | more than 3 years ago | (#35513960)

Whilst I agree whole-heartedly with the school being made responsible for stopping bullying (verbal or physical) during school time and on school grounds, they cannot realistically control what the children do outside of school. The only way to achieve this would be to change the rules by which FB operates. If you read FBs T-
"No information from children under age 13. If you are under age 13, please do not attempt to register for Facebook or provide any personal information about yourself to us. .....
Parental participation. We strongly recommend that minors 13 years of age or older ask their parents for permission before sending any information about themselves to anyone over the Internet and we encourage parents to teach their children about safe internet use practices. ....."
Maybe the way round this all is either;-
a) Anything posted by a person under the age of 18 (verifiable age by credit card or similar) MUST be approved by either a parent or their school before it goes live - lots of work, but it would mean employing at least 1 person in each school just to carry out this job.
b) Anyone signing up to FB must provide a credit card or similar proof or age. If they are under 18 then the parent/guardian provides this proof and take FULL responsibility for EVERYTHING that is posted by the child - from a legal as well as a moral standpoint. How many parents are going to allow their kids to post "Jonny's a fu$$ing fag and I'm gonna kill him" if they know that the law will come after them for inciting hatred or something similar.

Nuff said (1)

jav1231 (539129) | more than 3 years ago | (#35513970)

"If you are sending your children to public school that is tantamount to child abuse." - Neal Boortz. They certainly aren't learning any principles that our country stands for. But hey, say its for their own protection, throw the word "Columbine" out there and parents won't care.

pass the buck (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35514012)

Then the DofE has two choices 1) demand all students install spyware which scans their phones/laptops and photographs the user. 2)Wait until a child suicides and say it isn't their fault

Re:pass the buck (1)

Neil Boekend (1854906) | more than 3 years ago | (#35514246)

They have another choice: simply state: "What the kids do in the evenings and other non-school time is the parent's responsibility. The principal has no control over these matters and as a result they have no responsibility."
Yes I know it isn't that simple. However it should be.

Children don't have the right to free speech (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35514020)

Don't confuse everyone.

Children don't have the right to free speech, only adults do. In this case, their parents.

OTOH, principals at private schools can make pretty much any rules they like regarding facebook posts or threaten ejection from the school. Public schools don't have that choice, IMHO. Kids being mean to other kids has happened for hundreds, if not thousands of years. The best way I know to handle it on FB is for parents to demand to be friended on their child's page. If not, completely shut off FB from home.

Re:Children don't have the right to free speech (5, Informative)

mr100percent (57156) | more than 3 years ago | (#35514124)

Not really.
In the US, the Supreme Court upheld the right of free speech for students in Tinker vs. Des Moines School District [wikipedia.org] . Students can express as much free speech as they want provided it does not disrupt the learning environment, so outside-of-class speech is protected.

Unfortunately, Bush's appointees have essentially punched a gigantic hole into the previous ruling with Morse v. Fredrick [wikipedia.org] , where the Roberts Court determined that if the school officials have a seemingly good reason, they can abrogate free speech rights. This looks pretty easy to abuse, a school could claim to be protecting student safety and thus have license to patrol facebook and punish students accordingly.

Re:Children don't have the right to free speech (2)

will_die (586523) | more than 3 years ago | (#35514190)

Read the Morse v. Frederick decision. It is very specific in that it applies to promotion of the use of illegal drugs.
The only way it could tie into a claim of protecting the student safety is if the discussion was about illegal activities and even then the decision specificy states the reason it was valid was because it was done at a school function.

Re:Children don't have the right to free speech (1)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | more than 3 years ago | (#35514238)

Children don't have the right to free speech, only adults do.

Where in the first amendment does it state that?

Good-bye Freedom and Liberty... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35514024)

Let's teach our children that they are being monitoried 24/7. Let's teach them to be afraid to speak their mind. Let's label every sentence a kid utters as "bullying." Let's use the schools to create a police state that children will not only learn to accept, but come support when they raise their children.

Does anyone remember the Cold War and what we struggled against? This is as Stallinistic as can be. Hello Soviet States of America!

Why is the school responsible for this at all? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35514054)

A couple of years ago in my senior year of high school, I got called down to the principal's office for trolling another student on facebook, because she was caught naked in the boys bathroom sucking some guys dick. And I got in trouble for making fun of this girl.

Re:Why is the school responsible for this at all? (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#35514270)

Are we supposed to be feeling sorry for you, oh noble martyr on the altar of freedom of expression?

NO KIDS ON FB (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35514072)

You must be 18 or older to create a Facebook account. Problem solved.

Power 4 Gestapo (1)

b4upoo (166390) | more than 3 years ago | (#35514104)

They just passed a law which gives schools outrageous powers over students even in their own homes. Bullying is not such a simple issue. Young males often push each other to "buck up". That is to meet the mark, make the grade, ford the stream, beat the hazard or whatever. Name calling and a bit of pushing around are all part of this process. You see it when recruits go into military training. You certainly see it from both staff and students on football and other sports teams.
                            Yes there are bullies who are sort of mini terrorists who are a pain to all in schools. But many a milder child has made his mark in maturing by fighting back against a bully. This is just normal human behavior.
                            As far as youngsters who hang themselves over bullying think about how many young boys and girls commit suicide because they are charmed by members of the opposite sex and then rejected. Love is surely more lethal than the school bully who delivers a punch to the nose. Perhaps these school administrators should consider requiring girls and boys to dress in baggy sack cloth with ashes smeared all over them so that we don't see love sick teens offing themselves by the light of the moon.

Pass the buck (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35514114)

The D of E has two options: 1) Demand spyware on every phone and photograph the user. 2) Create a toothless policy and when a teen suicides insist their policy is working.

censorship is censorship in any form. (2)

aarghj (783869) | more than 3 years ago | (#35514126)

We have the right to say whatever we like about whoever we like. PERIOD. Schools and governments would do well to re-read the basic framework of our nation.

Great idea! (2)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | more than 3 years ago | (#35514210)

Or, alternatively, how about we teach them about how pointless and petty such things truly are? How about we teach them that words cannot hurt them unless they let themselves be 'hurt' by the words? Someone else's opinion of you matters little (no matter the amount of people that feel the same) and cannot actually harm you (unless they resorted to physical violence, in which case I would agree that intervention would be necessary). What we are doing is essentially placing them into a bubble that filters out everything that they don't wish to hear. They will never learn how pointless being offended by such things truly is, and when they are forced to leave that bubble, they will be lost. This is completely pointless and counterproductive if your goal is to raise a generation of free-thinking people who utilize logic in making their decisions, but from decisions such as this, I'm guessing that that isn't the goal at all.

Re:Great idea! (2)

thisnamestoolong (1584383) | more than 3 years ago | (#35514610)

No. You are absolutely, 100% wrong. Words do hurt. Maybe this is what your grandpa was taught in school, but it is simply not the case anymore. We are social creatures by our very nature. No matter how much we know we should not care about what others have to say about us, their words have an impact. This is particularly true of children who are beginning to develop their concept of self. While I agree that to a certain extent, people need to learn to deal with bullshit, they also need to learn that it is not an acceptable way to treat people. Bullies need to be punished, and kids need to be taught that their words really do have profound consequences.

I, for one, welcome our new (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35514274)

24 hour a day supervising principal overlords!

teenagers don't have full rights (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 3 years ago | (#35514480)

teenagers are mostly idiots. adults are mostly idiots, but at least they are fully legally accountable for their actions. teenager's actions are still a reflection of their parents, legally and logically, and so curtailment of their rights, according to their parent's wishes is good common sense. i don't think any RESPONSIBLE parent would have a problem with school admin monitoring and policing what their kids do while they are at work, and in fact, probably appreciate it

unless everyone here wants to register an opinion on this subject as if all teenagers were perfect responsible darlings all the time

pfffffffft

Lesson to kids: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35514558)

Thought is now a crime and any of those which the government disagrees with will be dealt with.

Charlie Sheen's principal is in trouble again! (1)

enaso1970 (759924) | more than 3 years ago | (#35514564)

This is clearly shortsighted. Why does it stop with graduation? I say principals should be legally responsible for all bad behavior throughout your life. Let's just pick a class of people as the designated "responsibles" and absolve ourselves, our parents, our families and friends from any social responsibility. Case closed.

According to Fox News... (1)

enaso1970 (759924) | more than 3 years ago | (#35514584)

...teachers are overpaid whiners with gold-and-fairy-dust-plated benefits and retirement packages who go home at 2pm and only work 9 months anyway. This just evens the balance and makes them work as hard as your average CEO. Thanks Fox for helping me see through their average-appearing deception!

free speech definitions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35514588)

According to the Slashdot hivemind:

Ganging up on and bullying a child, calling them faggot and queer, ridiculing and harassing them into depression and alienation, and in some cases suicide == free speech.

Calling a child into the principals office and telling them that this behavior is not acceptable == fascism.

freedom of speech? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35514600)

One of the first things we were taught in high school is that as children in school, we really don't get freedoms at all, because of the special nature of schools. So dont expect freedom of speech, or any privacy rights because legal precedence has always favored the school "for the safety of the children". This was pushed on us in homerooms in the first week, and during our government class. Mainly because the teachers didn't like how it effected children and they wanted to make sure we were aware of our lack of rights before we pulled something.

This is crazy (1)

omb (759389) | more than 3 years ago | (#35514612)

Though not from the US this is nonsense mission creap. The Department of Education is
unconstitutional, and uses up resources that would otherwise be available to support
educarion.

They constantly interfear with the running of schools and in the British system have taken
a working system and destroyed it.

Get rid of these people and leave harrasment to the police.

Wow this is stupid (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35514658)

When children are concerned, where is the line between protection and censorship?"

About 40 years ago and we crossed it without looking back.

The idea that they should correct bad behavior on school premises is fine. After all we have a choice as to wether we send our kids there, teach them ourselves, or pay a private entity to teach them and part of sending kids out to learn is teaching them how to survive in an environment where they may not agree with those in power or those around them. That said, the idea that they're responsible for kids once they leave the school is absolutely absurd, censorship, and nanny state BS.

On Censoring... (1)

Drethon (1445051) | more than 3 years ago | (#35514672)

Can we request the US Ed Dept be censored more? Just saying...

All Stick, No Carrot? (1)

lionchild (581331) | more than 3 years ago | (#35514708)

This sounds like an un-funded, all-stick, no-carrot mandate, like NCLB. I imagine this will hasten the departure of good school administrators.

Do you suppose that the Capitol Hill will allow schools to install Cell-Phone jamming technology to combat this sort of thing, keeping students off their cell phones during lunch and between classes? (I'm sure parents will be up in arms over something like that.)

It takes a village to raise a child, which means more than the local school needs to be accountable for the overseeing of our children. Perhaps we should include some 'legal action' that includes the children, not just the schools and administrators, we'd see better results?

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