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Schools Act to Short-Circuit 'Cyberbullying'

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the keeping-the-jerk-quotient-low dept.

Education 358

Carl Bialik from WSJ writes "So-called cyberbullying is a growing problem for school administrators, the Wall Street Journal reports. What may once have been snickers in the hallway can now be an excruciatingly public humiliation spread via email, text messaging and online teen forums. From the article: '"There's always the legal discussion of 'if it doesn't happen at school, can a district take action?'" says Joe Wehrli, policy-services director for the Oregon School Boards Association. "If a student is harassed for three hours at night on the Web and they come to school and have to sit in the same classroom with the student that's the bully, there is an effect on education, and in that way, there is a direct link to schools," he argues.'"

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Well... (2, Insightful)

PieSquared (867490) | more than 7 years ago | (#17751780)

Shouldn't they be stopping *real* bullying, where someone gets beat up, before they try to tackle "cyber" bullying?

I mean, it isn't going to work... how do you stop people from talking to each other, and doesn't that raise ethical/censorship concerns? This just means that you don't have to be the biggest guy in school to bully somebody. Get an anonymous email and do it that way, and "we" get our turn bullying...

Seriously, you (a school) can't stop kids from using IM, E-mail, and forums. Only their parents can do that and most really don't care. The government trying to do that (even just for schoolkids) would be a huge step in the wrong direction as far as the first amendment goes.

Re:Well... (5, Interesting)

Silver Sloth (770927) | more than 7 years ago | (#17751950)

Sticks and stones may break my bones
but words will never hurt me
This is the biggest load of bullshit ever. Words hurt, really hurt and the damage done by psychological bullying is far deeper than physical bullying.

Schools here in the UK have as part of their remit to tackle the serious problem of bullying in whatever form it may take. I applaud this initiative.

What about at work? (1, Insightful)

khasim (1285) | more than 7 years ago | (#17752122)

So the kids are working in the food service industry after school. Does the school have the right to tell them ANYTHING about how they'll behave there?

After all, bullying at work can affect them at school when they have to sit in the same classroom as the person who is bullying them at work.

The school's authority ends when the school day ends and where the school grounds end.

Re:What about at work? (4, Insightful)

Silver Sloth (770927) | more than 7 years ago | (#17752256)

Does the school have the right to tell them ANYTHING about how they'll behave there?
No, but is does have the need to teach them how to behave there. Education should be about a lot more than the three 'R's, it's where you learn social skills as well.

No (-1, Troll)

DavidShor (928926) | more than 7 years ago | (#17752400)

No it's not! Teaching children how to behave is propoganda, social norms change, and as such it is idiotic for the goverment to step in. Don't follow the tradition of the Hitler Youth.

But yes (5, Insightful)

Silver Sloth (770927) | more than 7 years ago | (#17752610)

Every time a teacher insists that the students
  • pay attention in class
  • don't run in the corridors
  • attend the required lessons
they're teaching children how to behave. If you take your line to it's logical conclusion then teachers shouldn't step in when pupils are fighting because that's teaching them how to behave.

90% of what you learn in school is about social skills, or 'how to behave'. Most of it you learn from your peers, but teachers, especially the good ones, will be leading the way.

Re:But yes (3, Insightful)

DavidShor (928926) | more than 7 years ago | (#17752780)

Teachers break up fighting students because they have a legal responcibility to, as assault and battery is against the law. As for the running around and not attending class thing, if a student wants to skip class and run around in the halls, I think we should let him/her, and call the parents. If he keeps doing it, you kick him out of the school out of noise concerns.

Parents should teach children how to behave, peers have a lot of influence also, but its the parent's job to give the child a strong enough foundation to know what to accept from peers and what to reject.

Teachers on the other hand, have no moral authority at all, and knowing many of my fellow college students who became teachers, I would not trust them with rasing children.

School Administrators are Stupid (0, Troll)

superpulpsicle (533373) | more than 7 years ago | (#17752584)

I am reading this article in amazement. Do school administrators really think everything began with Myspace??!!! By these laughable cyber harrassment standards, all highschool sports (especially football) should be banned.

And part of those "social skills" is dealing. (1)

khasim (1285) | more than 7 years ago | (#17752750)

No, but is does have the need to teach them how to behave there. Education should be about a lot more than the three 'R's, it's where you learn social skills as well.

Here, let me put it in real world terms for you.

A bunch of kids are working at McDonald's after school. Someone craps all over the bathroom. The manager is NOT going to assign the most popular kid to clean it up, is he? He's going to assign the unpopular kid. That's life. And that kid is going to be teased about it the next day at school. That's life.

Now, that kid can either learn the "social skill" of "dealing with it" from the experience or he can declare himself "emotionally devastated" by the "trauma".

No, it is NOT up to the school to "teach them how to behave there". The kids will learn it (if they do learn it) from the other kids and from their family and so forth.

Re:And part of those "social skills" is dealing. (3, Informative)

Silver Sloth (770927) | more than 7 years ago | (#17752894)

Maybe this reflects one of the differences between the US and the UK. A significant portion of my education, back in the 60's, and of my son's education (ongoing) was/is related to social skills. I'm not saying that it's the schools responsibility to deal with episodes which happen at MacD's but that behviour will, inevitably, be part of a pattern which is repeated in school which is their responsibility, both social, and, in the UK, legal.

So, back in the real world, when my son was being bullied, both in and out of school, it was the school which dealt with it, in co-ordination with all the students and parents involved. It wasn't a witch hunt, it wasn't trial of the century, it was simply the forum where issues like that can be resolved in a non-confruntational manner.

Re:Well... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17752154)

This is the biggest load of bullshit ever. Words hurt, really hurt and the damage done by psychological bullying is far deeper than physical bullying.

Ok, but that is irrelevant. US schools do not have the right to censor students unless someone makes a Constitutional amendment. If students threaten other students with physical harm then something can be done. But other forms of psychological harassment (such as insults) can't be censored.

As the GP mentioned, there are significant ethical issues involved here. I am not too fond of conditioning students to think that they have the right to censor others for statements they don't like or for personal insults.

Re:Well... (4, Insightful)

Kray1975 (1055642) | more than 7 years ago | (#17752200)

Mod Silver Sloth up. Almost all bullying is mental, not physical. Again, from personal expereince, I was bullied by girls. I was never bullied by boys because they didn't want a physical confrontation with me. It was constant sniping and ridiculing to put me down. If they had access to the internet as well back then, life would have been pretty unbearable. I'm not sure how this can be controlled, or if it should, as it all smacks of censorship. But the schools have a duty to inform all the parents on all sides. Very few parents would enjoy hearing that their darling is a vicious little bully. If that doesn't work, expel the little bastards, so at least the victim doesn't have to see them every day.

Re:Well... (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17752512)

Yeah, usually physical abuse is just one part of it. All my physical wounds have long since healed from my days of being bullied. I've been hurt much worse in boxing matches and it doesn't phase me. But the mental wounds never really heal. It's been probably ten years since anyone bullied me. I lift weights, I'm a boxer and I'm pretty big...so no one looking at me would think I was bullied. But my ego is totally smashed. When you go through years of being a total whipping boy for every sadistic asshole at your school and the "authorities" can't or won't do anything you can't just "snap out of it". Now I'm hopelessly shy, no confidence with women, I always feel like an outsider even with people I've known for years...people want to know what the hell is wrong with me. I was bullied and tormented every day all through the formative years of my life that's what!

Also there's such a stigma attached to being bullied that no one even talks about it. It's like sexual abuse, it's just something you can't casually talk about. It really is serious. Maybe someone should make some kind of anonymous support group for survivors. Is "survivors" to extreme? No. Get tormented every day for ten years and you are going to have mental issues, sorry!

Re:Well... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17753032)

Oh no! Somebody better call the waaaaambulance!

Tough Shit (3, Insightful)

DavidShor (928926) | more than 7 years ago | (#17752604)

I was bullied in elementary school(I read encyclopedias during any free time). I was made fun of, but this never really bothered me, children are rarely more original then "Stupid-But". What was far worse was when my (expensive) books were dumped in toilets.

You do not have the right not to be offended, and neither do children. In life, there are going to be many people who won't like you, and as such, you have to develop your own inner self independent from the opinions of others.

Now, if an adult hits an adult, he will be tried for assault. Similarly, if a bully attacks a kid or is found physically hurting him, taking his lunch money, etc. I think he should be expelled and sent to a military school, or better, his parents will have to pay the normal fine for assault (around a thousand USD) directly to the kid.

Re:Well... (0, Redundant)

PitaBred (632671) | more than 7 years ago | (#17752976)

omg think of the children! Seriously. I know bullying can be bad, but kids need to learn how to stand up for themselves. We're approaching a nanny-state, where no one is able to do anything for themselves.

I used to get made fun of. Everyone did, pretty much. You don't react, and they'll stop. People want to assert their power over you by bullying, verbal, physical or whatever. You don't let them affect you, and you've won. We need to teach people how to handle their own problems. And not immediately suspend and punish everyone involved when people get into a tussle, because some people just deserve a punch in the face.

Re:Well... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17753006)

Yup and dont forget peer pressure...

Having your "friends" standing around you telling you that you suck and are uncool for not taking acid or E is identical to them holding a gun to your head.

Kids are horrible, but the parents at home teach trhem to be the little assholes they are.

Re:Well... (3, Insightful)

HeadlessNotAHorseman (823040) | more than 7 years ago | (#17752042)

"Real" bullying is all mental. Physical abuse is only a small part of it. Bullies like to make other people feel inferior because it in turn makes them feel superior, and if they can do that without the bother of beating someone then in my experience they will. I was bullied badly in school, yet I was very rarely involved in any physical confrontations.

Re:Well... (1)

magical_mystery_meat (1042950) | more than 7 years ago | (#17752070)

I was bullied badly in school, yet I was very rarely involved in any physical confrontations.

Likewise. I was pretty big and strong (farm work) so people didn't start fights with me. If only I hadn't been taught never to stand up for myself, I probably would have some self-respect today.

Re:Well... (1)

HeadlessNotAHorseman (823040) | more than 7 years ago | (#17752276)

I was never big and strong, but I went to school in a little country town. The high school had 400 kids, but nobody really went around beating each other up. I recall that I did get into one physical "fight"...there were three kids ganging up on me against a wall...I don't think they were going to hurt me, but they pushed me a little too far so I punched the "leader" in the face and ran away as fast as I could :-P I made his cheek swell up a bit, but nothing spectacular, and it didn't stop anyone from bullying me :-S

Re:Well... (4, Insightful)

GeckoX (259575) | more than 7 years ago | (#17752354)

Here here.

Actually, I was rarely physically bullied as even in most unfair fights, 2 on 1 kind of thing, you'd better had been REAL sure you wanted to pick it with me before we got into it. Holding your own against a couple of fucking assholes actually makes you feel pretty good.

But when a dozen fucking assholes surround you and torment you verbally, day in and day out, it really is not a good thing. Back in the day, this stuff was completely ignored. Heck, I got in trouble more often than my tormentors. They'd push me to my limit, I'd push back, and I'd get suspended for that kids bloody nose. Even though it was that group of a dozen kids that didn't take the bus home so they could follow me all the way home tormenting me every step of the way.

My crime? Being one of the ~15% of my public school that lived in the neighborhood. The rest were bussed in. Just about all of us that actually lived in the area were 'outsiders' and tormented relentlessly.

At least things changed when we hit high school. I went to a very diversely populated high school. Started playing football. I hate football. But I got to play against a LOT of my former tormentors. Offensive Tackle is a very good position I can tell you, and vengeance is sweet no matter what your mom says.

Back to the point. Things can only be worse now with the available technologies to not only torment relentlessly, even after kids have gone home. But the added ability to do so anonymously. Someone absolutely should be dealing with this kind of thing. And really, how are parents supposed to do this? They'd have to monitor all this communication. Figure out that this tormentor is actually Bad Billy from a couple blocks over. Talk to his parents that have the attitude "How Fucking Dare You Accuse My Son Of Shit" (While bad billy is in the back room torturing the cat). Parents really can't do shit.

But the education system however. They can separate kids. They can give kids detention. They can suspend kids. They can teach kids. They can mediate. They can keep kids that refuse to behave civilly from playing the sports they want to until they smarten up. They can have some authority backing them up when discussing issues with problem children's parents.

This is not about freedom of speech. Not even a little bit. Freedom of speech or not, I still would be well advised to not come utter death threats to your face. Freedom of speech is not intended to be a get out of jail free card or a license to ruin someones life.

And for all you parents out there that have a Bad Billy but refuse to accept it, here's the truth: Bad Billy is truly Bad. He's a fucking asshole. He's going to end up living out life in jail if you don't do something about it NOW. It's not everyone else out there. It's not the education system. It's your child, and your lack of parenting. Period.
 

Re:Well... (2, Insightful)

garcia (6573) | more than 7 years ago | (#17752166)

Shouldn't they be stopping *real* bullying, where someone gets beat up, before they try to tackle "cyber" bullying?

No, they shouldn't unless it is physical. I dealt with a ton of taunting when I was in school. It took a toll on me but in the end I ended up being a much stronger and thick skinned individual for it. Petty non-sense in the workplace doesn't affect my job and my personal life like it seems to affect everyone else; I think that's a very important thing...

This type of "life lesson" either makes you crash emotionally under the pressures or you press through and end up ahead. If the kids are now moving to doing it on the Internet there's an even easier solution -- tune it out. The Internet is a ton easier to block out than verbal threats and taunts in person.

Personally, I think that the administrators should be concerning themselves with making certain that their systems are getting kids "college ready" so that they don't have to take remedial courses when they get to school and stop worrying about what's happening on MySpace and AIM.

Re:Well... (2, Interesting)

Silver Sloth (770927) | more than 7 years ago | (#17752494)

So causing someone to 'crash emotionally under the pressure' is fine? It's their fault for not being tough enough?

Oh, I met lots like you when I was thirteen, many who said it was my fault for not being 'man enough', for being different, for not being good at sports, for taking pleasure and pride in learning. Believe me, the kicks, the punches, were nothing compared to the psychological hurts. I almost welcomed them because after they had finished at least they left me alone. Bruising fades but even now, in my fifties, I bear the scars of the taunting.

Re:Well... (3, Insightful)

Vellmont (569020) | more than 7 years ago | (#17752682)


It took a toll on me but in the end I ended up being a much stronger and thick skinned individual for it.

Did you ever think that people are different, and bullying might affect them differently? I'm sure there's people out their that are stronger people because they were abused as a child.. but that doesn't mean we should tolerate child abuse.

Sheesh. When will people stop assuming their personal experiences aren't always universal?

Re:Well... (1)

garcia (6573) | more than 7 years ago | (#17752876)

Sheesh. When will people stop assuming their personal experiences aren't always universal?

Verbal taunting by other kids is *not* child abuse. It's verbal abuse but nothing more. Please do not cheapen the term "child abuse" by purposefully confusing the two.

Re:Well... (1)

Moofie (22272) | more than 7 years ago | (#17752958)

I think you need to read that post again, because it doesn't say what you think it says.

Re:Well... (3, Insightful)

Billosaur (927319) | more than 7 years ago | (#17752202)

Shouldn't they be stopping *real* bullying, where someone gets beat up, before they try to tackle "cyber" bullying?

Define "real." Whether physical, psychological, or emotional, bullying is bullying. It is one person attempting to dominate another, based on completely arbitrary social/physical boundaries ("I'm bigger than you," "I'm smarter than you," "I'm richer than you"). The fact is, schools have never come up with concerted efforts to stop bullying, and frankly, without constant surveillance, it's nearly impossible. A bully isn't going to do something to someone in proximity to someone in authority; that's why "cyber-bullying" is the new rage, because it's more "anonymous" than doing it to someone's face. The only way they will be caught is the the person being bullied reports it, and that's the point of the bullying: to make them hesitate to tell anyone, so they can continue to be used as someone else's form of entertainment.

What I don't think the cyber-bullies understand is that because it's technology-driven, they can be tracked. The hoops they would have to jump through to cover their tracks is probably beyond the grasp of the vast majority of bullies. Mind you, you are now seeing the ascendancy of the "techno-savvy" bully, who bullies other because he/she has superior technical skills/knowledge.

Re:Well... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17752226)

Shouldn't they be stopping *real* bullying, where someone gets beat up, before they try to tackle "cyber" bullying?
Because being hit a few times is something you can usually recover from relatively easily. But when kids start putting up lies or private truths about another kid on the web where it'll be findable from Google for the next 5 to 50 years, that becomes very serious. Remember, lies can be very bad lies.

Re:Well... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17752480)

'"There's always the legal discussion of 'if it doesn't happen at school, can a district take action?'" says Joe Wehrli, policy-services director for the Oregon School Boards Association. "If a student is harassed for three hours at night on the Web and they come to school and have to sit in the same classroom with the student that's the bully, there is an effect on education, and in that way, there is a direct link to schools," he argues.'"

The only "legal discussion" to be had here is whether or not my child did something illegal. If my daughter calls some kid a poo-poo head outside of school, she'll have to deal with me. If she beats some other kid up, especially to the point of injury, she might well have to deal with the law. But if she claims on a web site, newspaper, or other publication the other kid slept with the football team, although the school may really, really, really want to help out, it's not their job to do so.

It really doesn't matter how much I dislike our current president. My role is to vote or complain, that's it. If he breaks the law, it's up to the law-enforcers to take care of. I have no authority to punish him. It really doesn't matter if I think you're a rude asshole. If you break the law in the process of being an asshole, the police should deal with you. If not, I can try talking with you or hope your friends and family convince you to be nicer, but that is the extent of my role. I can not give you detention. Schools have no authority to punish my child for being a jerk outside of school. It's not a discussion, they literally have no jurisdiction. It is out of their hands.

The schools need to learn their place. Teaching kids to be nice is their place, but enforcing it at home is most certainly not. They may not like that little Billy got his feelings hurt, and I really wish little Billy didn't have to go through that because it's a fucked up thing for kids to have to go through, but the schools have no place, whatsoever, in the enforcement of civility outside of school grounds. Once they learn their authority stops at the fence, then we they can start doing the important work of giving advice to the community about how this kind of activity isn't good for kids (yes, advice _is_ their role). That advice could possibly be helpful. They do have a lot of experience with the subject. But until then we need to let them know that it is absolutely not ok for them to go further than this.

Re:Well... (2, Insightful)

Alioth (221270) | more than 7 years ago | (#17752650)

Verbal bullying is very real, especially to a teenager who isn't the most rational person to start with (and will likely react in some way). Verbal bullying can be extremely destructive, as much so as physical bullying. It should be taken every bit as seriously as physical bullying. (And often the two are combined).

Fighting Bullying (1)

mfh (56) | more than 7 years ago | (#17752934)

... is like fighting spam. You can't fight it due to a number of reasons, and most of which involve asshats.

The best approach is to learn to cope with it while it's happening (ie: forbearance) and the pain as the rocket fuel that will make your adult life MORE PLEASANT and REWARDING (mostly because the bullies are all working for you, your organization or some lesser place in society due to karma, which is a bitch).

fun turn around (1)

VEGETA_GT (255721) | more than 7 years ago | (#17751802)

Its funny, Before it was us Geeks being bullied. now the Geeks in school are bulling everyone else on the web.

Re:fun turn around (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17751860)

VEGETA_GT smells.

Re:fun turn around (4, Insightful)

niconorsk (787297) | more than 7 years ago | (#17751864)

If only. Sadly, its just that the bullies have learned to use a computer. Actually, to be more precise, they've learned to use the bare minimum of IM, E-mail and MySpace. Ask them to do anything else, and they'd probably implode.

Re:fun turn around (1)

i7dude (473077) | more than 7 years ago | (#17751868)

Its funny, Before it was us Geeks being bullied. now the Geeks in school are bulling everyone else on the web.

so basically...said geeks failure to learn from others past mistakes makes them no better than the assholes that came before them.

dude.

Re:fun turn around (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17751878)

News flash, not only geeks use e-mail, IM's, or text messaging. Any idiot can harrass someone online.

Re:fun turn around (1)

bradsenff (1047338) | more than 7 years ago | (#17752602)

Its funny, Before it was us Geeks being bullied. now the Geeks in school are bulling everyone else on the web.

What sweet irony. They did it to us way back "When", and now that we've figured it out, the bully's shills in school administration (or shall I say, OUR former bullies?) start to interfere? Coincidence?

Where's my tinfoil hat, I've left my underwear at home so I can wear it this time and not get a wedgie.

-b

This is a problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17751852)

Something similar has been happening lately at my university, except during classes and on the university's computer equiptment. Most of the time the idiots doing the bullying use their own accounts and get caught, but we've even had incidents of threats to teachers and such. Now I don't think there is a single machine on campus that you can get onto without having a school account, which locks out parents, alumni, and guests from using any of our technology resources.

A New Playground (4, Insightful)

Apocalypse111 (597674) | more than 7 years ago | (#17751854)

The thing that I find somewhat amusing about the whole issue of "cyber-bullying" is that the online world is the traditional playground of geeks. Now those geeks are getting picked on in their playground instead of just the one at school - the difference being that in this playground, the geeks are the bigger, stronger ones. So, you decided to try to mess with me online eh? Lets see how tough you act when your Myspace page is filled with horse porn, and your parents' inbox is filled with spam from the darkest corners of the web, with your name in them. Still acting tough? Whoops, sorry, I guess my finger slipped and I sharded all your purples in WoW. And distributed your gold to everyone in Ironforge (you Alliance pansy). And got you kicked out of your guild. So, stop picking on me at school, and I'll stop destroying you at home and online. Deal?

Re:A New Playground (2, Informative)

Dan Slotman (974474) | more than 7 years ago | (#17751970)

Bullying is a mindset, and has nothing to do with how big and strong one is. At the point someone is willing to get personal satisfaction and validation by causing another emotional or physical pain, they have crossed the line from healthy to sadistic. It would be intellectually dishonest to say that cyber-bullying is justified because "geeks were picked on first." In the real world, two wrongs do not make a right.

Re:A New Playground (4, Interesting)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 7 years ago | (#17752132)

At the point someone is willing to get personal satisfaction and validation by causing another emotional or physical pain, they have crossed the line from healthy to sadistic ... In the real world, two wrongs do not make a right.

In the real world, self-defense is both a right and a duty.

Back when I was in high school, 20+ years ago, I didn't have the worry about cyber-bullying; I was more concerned about the physical, hands-on kind. This lasted precisely until the point where I learned to fight back. And I still have very vivid memories of hurting people, and of the satisfaction I took in it; does that make me a sadist? I don't think so -- I certainly don't go looking for fights these days, or try to hurt people in any way. The satisfaction was equal parts getting my own back and knowing that I was finally putting a stop to the torment that had made my life hell for years.

You know what? It worked. After a year or so of fighting damn near every day with people who had considered me their own personal punching bag, the bullying stopped. And not just for me, but for many of my equally victimized friends. That may have been "two wrongs" -- hell, it may have been a hundred wrongs -- but damned if it didn't make things right.

Re:A New Playground (2, Insightful)

Dan Slotman (974474) | more than 7 years ago | (#17752406)

Bullying is fundamentally different than self-defense. If you insult me and I make a snappy comeback and if you hit me and I hit you back, that's one thing. However, If you insult me, and I devote the next few hours to destroying your reputation among our peers, I think that is a completely different story.

If I'm a cyberbully and destroy your reputation among our peers, it is difficult for you to repair that with a snappy comeback. Cyberbullying has the same potential for harm that physical bullying does. Most people will come through it more-or-less all right; they'll have had a bad experience in school, but hopefully moving to a new city upon graduation and/or going to college will let them turn over a new leaf. However, there will always be fringe cases that cannot handle the psychological stress of physical or cyberbullying and resort to direct escapes like suicide or extreme physical violence like school shootings.

Most importantly, saying, "Just fight back," ignores the fact that bullying is happening in the first place. It doesn't matter whether it is the big tough kid or a nerdy computer geek, bullying is someone taking advantage of their strength to harm someone else. It is wrong and will never be justified.

Re:A New Playground (1)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 7 years ago | (#17752492)

I agree that bullying is never justified. What I'm saying -- and I can understand if you disagree -- is that IMO the exact same action, whether it's punching someone in the face or saying nasty things about them on MySpace, may be bullying in one instance and self-defense in another.

Re:A New Playground (2, Insightful)

GeckoX (259575) | more than 7 years ago | (#17752418)

Absolutely.

Further, all the bullies I had in school were individually very weak individuals. Physically, but more importantly, mentally. This is why they bully in the first place, because they are weak and have low self esteem, confidence etc. The only thing that makes them feel good is to make someone else feel worse than they do.

Where does this come from? Home of course. Most children that are bullies get bullied at home themselves, either by their parent(s) or an older sibling or what have you.

And people are saying we should leave this problem to the parents. Lol. Worst. Idea. Ever.

Re:A New Playground (1)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 7 years ago | (#17752006)

I'd guess that the kids who are getting the worst of the "cyber-bullying" aren't the kind of geeks who have the technical skills to take appropriate revenge. IOW, they're not the hackers; they're the "art fags" and "drama nerds" and "book dorks" who are still considered targets in the vicious high school social hierarchy, but whose chosen geekiness doesn't give them skills that are useful for fighting back.

Re:A New Playground (1)

GeckoX (259575) | more than 7 years ago | (#17752450)

That's a nice spin you put on it. But you're wrong.

Bullies simply pick on those weaker than them. If you're at a drama school, it won't be the drama kids being bullied. It'll be the lone jock.

It's not about being a nerd. It's about who's the easiest target. Bullies are weak. As weak as they come. They NEVER pick a target that they can't beat, at least while they have the herd behind them. And that herd will always consist of the majority.

Re:A New Playground (1)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 7 years ago | (#17752684)

At a drama school, maybe so. (Do drama schools, and other magnet schools, even have football teams?) But at a typical high school, where the social hierarchy is designed by the school administration so that jocks are number one, actors bullying athletes isn't the way it works, and you know it.

You're quite right that bullies pick on the weakest victim. That's my point. If the computer nerd can devastate the football player's life in response to a mean page on Teh Interwebs, but the tuba player doesn't know anything more about computers than the cheerleader does, guess who gets pasted online?

Re:A New Playground (1)

GeckoX (259575) | more than 7 years ago | (#17752906)

No, I don't know it. I concede that in your experience though that's what you've seen in terms of hierarchy. There are certainly a lot of schools in the US that do put a focus on sports.

In my experience however, the bullying I went through occurred in public school. As I mentioned in another post on here, it was purely because of where the kids lived. Most of the kids were bussed in from a newer suburb. Us local kids were the outsiders, and we got bullied relentlessly. The social hierarchy was purely based on that alone. In terms of bullying, the 'hierarchy' is just about always determined by which 'group' is in the majority and which is in the minority.

High school was a saving grace for me. I purposefully chose to go to a technical arts school where everyone was an outsider. There simply was no majority. No matter what you were like, no matter how 'odd' you were, there were others like you. There was no bullying. Not that it was all peace and love of course, there were many good fights and brawls. But it was always honest fighting if you know what I mean, boys will be boys after all.

Re:A New Playground (1)

Lazerf4rt (969888) | more than 7 years ago | (#17752036)

Woah dude. Nobody said it's just geeks who get picked on, for being geeks. When I was in high school, one of the school's most popular girls went through a nasty case of harassment that even got the principal involved. Hell, I was picked on in grade 5 by a group of grade 1's, and look how cool I am! It happens to all kinds. Get over yourself.

Re:A New Playground (0, Flamebait)

Profane MuthaFucka (574406) | more than 7 years ago | (#17752092)

There's more than one way to skin a cat. Whoever said that never went to their bullies' house with a bowl of cat food, caught the little tabby fuck, slit it from the throat to the asshole, and skinned it.

Once you've done that, you'll realize that there really is only one way to get even with a bully. Online revenge just doesn't feel as real as actually skinning the kitty your bully loves.

Re:A New Playground (1)

ruffnsc (895839) | more than 7 years ago | (#17752280)

I dont think a highschool non-geek will be on WoW worried about his gold being distributed. From my experience bullies tended to be less intelligent and more focus on masculine things like sports/myspace 'pimping'/girls/ and cars. Granted geeks will like some of those things too but they would also embrace technology more so than I think a bully. Hense my assumption most high school bullies arent playing COD or WoW. I do think you make a decent point about parents email. If you start messing with the "bullies" parents email and work email accounts I bet they would have a great interest in getting their son/daughter to fix the issue or leave the person in question alone.

Re:A New Playground (1)

Apocalypse111 (597674) | more than 7 years ago | (#17752620)

That was more my point in the first place - if the person has any online presence then it can be exploited, exposed, and destroyed. WoW was just an example case. I could have just as well said using the bully's email address (bonus points for sending it through his wireless access point) to send emails to any number of people. His friends, his teachers, his parents, government officials... the list goes on and on, and the possibilities for screwing up the bully's life are practically endless. As with all things though, the trick is not to get caught.

Re:A New Playground (1)

ruffnsc (895839) | more than 7 years ago | (#17752982)

Yes I see your point. I wonder what is truely the best way to (read: legal) to quickly and anonymously stop this sort of bullying. I think it's great and know its possible to create havoc on their lives but in the end that makes the geek no better than the bully. Right? I don't know I have always thought revenge was a dish best served cold but as I grow older usually the effort never gave the satisfaction I desired for the amount of plotting and time I put into it. As well as the worry of getting "caught" I need to keep reading the posts for this one because someone in ./ has a useful idea for the what I am thinking.

Re:A New Playground (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 7 years ago | (#17753042)

"Now those geeks are getting picked on in their playground instead of just the one at school - the difference being that in this playground, the geeks are the bigger, stronger ones."

Get with the future, the tools ar available to everyone, not just to 'Geeks'. Most of whom chouldn't do anything on the internet besides write comments and download music.

By the way? your example relies on telling them who you are in a public manner; which will:
Get you banned in WoW, in trouble from your parents, and investigated by the authorities.

Yeah, good luck behaving uncivilized, jackass.

Here is an idea, track them and then gat a lawyer involved. Use your knowledge to get information and then sue them. Sadly, you need weveral witness to come forward for anything to happen in the real wourld, but in the internet you jsut need some logs.

Use. Your. Brain.

I'm sorry, but please.... (2, Funny)

Rahga (13479) | more than 7 years ago | (#17751870)

Anybody who manages to get themselves targetted and bullied online deserves to have their internet user license revoked, their AOL CDs smashed, and forced to take a defensive surfing class taught by Bobo the circus ape.

Re:I'm sorry, but please.... (2, Funny)

PWill (1006147) | more than 7 years ago | (#17752336)

ur so mean. uve obviously never had any1 call u fat in ur myspace picz...

Re:I'm sorry, but please.... (1)

Aqua_boy17 (962670) | more than 7 years ago | (#17752636)

Before I saw your 5 digit ID, I was all ready to say "You must be new here, welcome to /."

I kid, I kid.

Hit the core problem first (4, Insightful)

RyoShin (610051) | more than 7 years ago | (#17751900)

Here's a thought: How about they handle regular bullying, which happens in the school, before worrying about cyberbullying, which is more out of their hands?

The thing is, at least in my experience, bullies rarely get punishment for their bullying, even when the abused works up the courage to complain to someone. Some schools may have more things to worry about, like fighting, drugs, and gang-wars, but there are plenty that don't. Most of the teachers in these schools turn a blind eye to the problem right in front of them. I've only ever seen one teacher, aside from the school counselar, tell a student to knock it off. Vulgar slurs, personal attacks, and cruel nicknames may seem like something kids are "supposed" to do to each other, but it has longer reaching effects than most adults will admit to.

And, when doled out in large quanitities, can lead to Columbine-like events.

No, I don't have an answer for bullying. I wish I did. When ever a bully is punished for what they do, it's generally a detention, and then they're back dishing out more punishment because you turned them in. Perhaps some sort of humiliation for them, like having to wear a dress for a day, would help them realize what it does, but the parents would complain that their "darling angel" is being unfairly treated, and that would be the end of that.

So if they don't get punished at school, of course they're going to continue at home, because the parents tend to be oblivious to what they are doing. Even worse is that some of those on the receiving end of bullying at school will turn around at home and do cyberbullying. Often they'll target those who attack them at school, other times they'll go after the popular kids, usually anonymously. This gives them a feeling of control and power, the reverse of what they feel at school.

So take care of regular bullying first. Then you'll know how to work against cyberbullying, and in the process probably take care of some of it, too.

Re:Hit the core problem first (1)

Digital Vomit (891734) | more than 7 years ago | (#17752118)

Perhaps some sort of humiliation for them, like having to wear a dress for a day, would help them realize what it does, but the parents would complain that their "darling angel" is being unfairly treated, and that would be the end of that.

The problem with bullies starts with the parents. If the parents don't give a crap about raising their kid properly, then there's not much anyone else can do.

However, I like the idea of creating "school prisons" where bullies can be incarcerated for a time (a few hours, a day, overnight, etc.). Let them have a taste of what that kind of behavior will lead to in the real world.

Re:Hit the core problem first (1)

Jaysyn (203771) | more than 7 years ago | (#17753046)

My question is, and I'm being serious, is Columbine HS a nicer, more polite place now than it was pre-shooting?

Fine line to walk (1)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 7 years ago | (#17751912)

Face it, if the schools can censor students' posts to prevent bullying (and censorship is what we're talking about, let's not mince words) then they can use exactly that same principle to censor students' posts on any other subject, including legitimate criticism of teachers and administrators. And as much as hate bullying and wish schools would do more to fight it, if it comes down to a choice between free speech vs. protecting kids from things that happen off campus on the other, I'll choose free speech every time. As I remember vividly from my own high school days, speaking out honestly off-campus about incompetent and/or malicious faculty is about the only chance smart, committed kids have to make a difference in the quality of their education. Bullying can be dealt with one-on-one; when you're up against The Man, you have to have a forum where you can organize.

(Of course, we did it without all this fancy technology you kids have these days ... damn kids ... grumble natter ... where'd I leave my dentures ...)

We'll probably get the worst of both worlds. There will be a lot of noise about protecting the victims of bullying, cyber- and otherwise, but nothing will actually be done in that regard, while new powers of censorship designed to allow schools to track down "cyberbullies" will be swiftly and effectively used to silence students who criticize the school. And anyone who objects too loudly will be tarred with the Harris & Klebold brush, maybe with a touch of bin Laden thrown in. I wish I could believe I was wrong about this, but that's likely the reality.

Adding the internet does not make it a new problem (1)

Djatha (848102) | more than 7 years ago | (#17751932)

Oh, come on. Again a story why the internet is such a problematic medium or causes `new' problems. As if before the internet children were not bullied and the whole class, school or youth community would not know about it. All the `really good pranks and bully-ings' (maybe the term `bad' is better in this context) are going around in the local youth community since Methusalem started at school.

Adding the internet, mobile phones and camera's does not really change the situation. Yes, one can see the harassment now, and yes, that will be forever on the internet. But still, its effect will be local and soon every member of the youth community will be a victim of such a harassment and all the fuss will be over.

Some will be more bullied than others, and the bullying itself is the problem. Teach all those kids manners and stimulate parents to actually raise their kids instead of looking at schools and the government to fight the symptoms of the real problem: ill-behaving kids.

more embarassing for the "bully" (1)

Lazerf4rt (969888) | more than 7 years ago | (#17751956)

Kylie Kenney heard a crescendo of whispers and jeers as she moved through an otherwise unremarkable eighth-grade school day. The reason: Word had spread of a Web site posted by some of her peers, titled "Kill Kylie Incorporated."

Does anyone else think that when somebody puts up a website called "Kill Kylie Incorporated", it's the person putting up the site who looks like a big fucking idiot?

Re:more embarassing for the "bully" (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 7 years ago | (#17752732)

Yes, but do those kids think that too?
We're not talking about rational adults here, but about children for whom the full scope of reason has yet to sink in.

Re:more embarassing for the "bully" (2, Insightful)

192939495969798999 (58312) | more than 7 years ago | (#17752888)

Any credible threat of or actual incident of physical violence are illegal here, so I don't see why they need a separate law or whatever to deal with any of that, just enforce the existing laws. I had to intervene in lots of fights because the admins didn't do anything at school. Isn't hitting someone still assault?

Revenge of The Other (1)

beringreenbear (949867) | more than 7 years ago | (#17751972)

A lot has changed in the past 20 years with the adoption of pervasive technologies. Yes, e-mail and instant messaging and forums have been around a lot longer. I'm enough of a geek to acknowledge that. What has changed, however, is the adoption and ubiquitousness of the technology.

What hasn't changed, however, are people. People, in the US especially, differentiate themselves from The Other. Be it a "geeky" kid, two guys or two girls kissing in public, people who have (or lack) skin pigmentation, anything. All we're seeing here is a new type of differentiation of "The Other".

To solve the problem requires striking at the root of this all-too-human drive to be xenophobic. The real problem is: How do we (individually or as a society) bridge the divide and create, if not xenophiles, people with an educated understanding and lack of fear or hostility from those that are different from themselves?

Or, put another way, SSDD. Just with cooler technology and different leverage.

cyber bullying aka cyber lynching (1)

CKW (409971) | more than 7 years ago | (#17751982)

Cyber bullying is what the very first person does that results in cyber lynching - and cyber lynching is something we definitely need to get a grip on. And I don't mean just at schools - I mean in general.

Look at how easy and how often cyber lynchings take place on Digg. A single inflamatory article stating one side of a dispute with no 3rd party corroberating evidence or investigative journalism behind it - and someone's getting 200 death threats a day over the phone or tens of thousands of people local to the area are avoiding a single car dealership "because they SO screwed so and so anonymous guy on the web".

The parents aren't in much of a position to see the effect, how often does the cyber bully stand toe to toe to his/her victim in their parents house or yard and heap shit on them? The effect is observable at school.

Yeah, go get the little bastards.

Nanny State (1)

AlHunt (982887) | more than 7 years ago | (#17752012)

If a student is harassed for three hours at night on the Web and they come to school and have to sit in the same classroom with the student that's the bully, there is an effect on education


Horse puckey. This is the same "Nanny-State" logic congress uses to meddle in affairs they shouldn't. Control the kids and situation AT school and don't waste school resources (time, money and energy) trying to control what happens outside the classroom.

Why do schools need to be involved? (1)

Guppy06 (410832) | more than 7 years ago | (#17752016)

If someone is being harassed, why aren't the police involved?

Re:Why do schools need to be involved? (1)

operagost (62405) | more than 7 years ago | (#17752332)

I agree. Doesn't this sort of thing spawn, at the minimum, a civil case when adults are involved? It's really just another excuse to censor minors. It happened when I was in school in the 1970s-1990s and it continues today. At least back then, we only had to worry about our biting political satire being cut out of the school newspaper. Today, kids are being barred from posting anything on the web or participating in peaceful protests (ok, maybe unfurling a "Bongs 4 Jesus" banner isn't much of a protest) outside of campus.

Re:Why do schools need to be involved? (1)

Perl-Pusher (555592) | more than 7 years ago | (#17752704)

I agree! My daughter and a friend decided it would be fun using AOL IM to harass someone. The policeman came and talked to me, my wife and the other kids parents. We knew they used IM to talk to their friends. These were a couple of incidents that were done when we weren't around. The officer was really reasonable, he had the entire transcript from AOL. And so we got them together and scared the shit out of both of them. The officer read them their rights etc. and then told them how stupid and cruel there being. Problem solved. They learned a lesson and I decided to inconspicuously spy on her a little more thoroughly.

Re:Why do schools need to be involved? (1)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | more than 7 years ago | (#17752954)

If someone is being harassed, why aren't the police involved?
Because children are above the law.

Stay out of my house. (4, Insightful)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 7 years ago | (#17752056)

The whole concept of everything that could possibly affect a kid's education being the state's responsibility scares the hell out of me. Yeah, his point about after-hours bullying carrying through to the classroom makes a certain amount of sense, but frankly, I don't care.

We sometimes might eat food that doesn't conform to the district's nutritional guidelines. Is that the school's concern?

My kids get to play video games that the district would never allow. Is that the school's concern?

The rugrats might even play a game of tag in the yard, even though the district doesn't allow it anymore. Is that the school's concern?

No, no, and no. And neither is it the school's concern whether my kids are the source or target of bullying when they are not in school. Stay out of my living room! I am the parent here, not a well-meaning but fascist bureaucrat.

Re:Stay out of my house. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17752572)

Posting AC for obvious reasons:
Stay out of my living room! I am the parent here, not a well-meaning but fascist bureaucrat.

As both a parent, and a public school employee, I feel I must both agree with you, and respectfully disagree.

As a parent, I would like nothing more than to be able to bring up my child in the way that I see fit.

As a public school employee, I have seen far to many cases where students come to school dirty, hungry, or otherwise neglected to believe that this is possible. Teachers have to teach "Warm Fuzzies" that I believe should be taught at home. (things such as manners, among others) Teachers are also "Mandated Reporters", they are trained to detect problems such as abuse (physical, emotional, sexual, & substance) and are obligated to report if they suspect problems. The principal at the elementary school here has done numerous home visits with a police escort for security.

As for school officials being "a well-meaning but fascist bureaucrat" please attend your local school board meetings (They are by law open to the public) realize that the school board members are elected officials. And for God's sake, get involved with your child's education! Also, realize that Academics should come before Athletics, Dance class, Karate, etc. Don't gripe when your son or daughter has homework. Have then turn of the TV, Put away the Video games and the Computer, and READ!

Please realize that students are at school for 9 hours a day (assuming 8-3), that means that they are at home for 15 hours a day. As a parent, you need to pull your own weight!

Again, wrong approach! (3, Insightful)

WED Fan (911325) | more than 7 years ago | (#17752098)

I'm not sure how things are working in other cultures, but in the U.S. part of our problem is bowing to the overly sensitive.

If we give our kids the tools to handle pressure, and the outlets to deal with it, they will be much healthier adults. Since the 1970's, we've psychoanalized ourselves into a morass or "feelings" and "inner child" excuses. We want to legislate and be protected from things that "offend" us. So, our children grow up, not being able to handle the pressure and they go to the extreme when they snap.

I'm reminded of the line in an Eagles song, "I'd like to find your inner child and kick its little ass." (Get Over It). The term now-a-days is "Man Up". If you went crying to school administration, or you father, they'd tell you to get tough.

If you don't teach kids how to deal with it, how to get angry, but control it, how to defend yourself, but don't start it then we will soon have a nation of people who shouldn't be allowed out of their homes.

I was listening to local talk radio yesterday and the discussion was about a Texas town where the word "nigger" was going to be outlawed. One of the callers couldn't understand why the radio host considered people a little too oversensitive to the word. The caller wanted all hateful words legislated out of usage because it was his right to be protected from them. He told the host that if someone used the word "nigger" on him, he would pull out a gun and shoot him. His inability to deal with the harshness of the world makes him see murder as a proportionate response to a racial slur. He literally said that in order to avoid him shooting someone, government should make a law against the slur so he could take the person to court. (Seattle Dori Monson Show.)

We need to teach kids to deal with it, react appropriately and proportionately and responsibly, and not expect to be protected from things that offend them.

Re:Again, wrong approach! (1)

operagost (62405) | more than 7 years ago | (#17752366)

He told the host that if someone used the word "nigger" on him, he would pull out a gun and shoot him.
Well, at least that guy believes in the 2nd Amendment!

You under-estimate the power of a social network.. (1)

StressGuy (472374) | more than 7 years ago | (#17752612)

First off, I largely agree with you, but I think you neglect that anything, not just physical violence, can be taken too far.

Case in point, my family moved around a lot and I was in several high schools. In one particular such school, I got targeted by a fairly popular individual that started spreading rumors about me being a "faggot". To this day, I have no idea why. Anyway, with his social network, he pretty much destroyed me socially. If I complained to counselors, I was told to "not let it bother me". If I complained to my parents, I was told I was "too sensitive". Every school day, I had to put up with being called "faggot" and, on several evenings, I was getting obscene phone calls from people who really were gay.

The, one day, it happened....I was walking down the hall and heard someone call me "faggot" just one too many times,....and I reflexively punched him in the face. He went sprawling backwards into a door with a surprised look on his face, then ran to a nearby teacher saying that I hit him for "no reason". Soon after that, I'm in a counselors office with my parents being told that, not only am I "too sensitive", but I have an "anger management problem" as well.

It was at this point I realized that, not only am I targeted, but nobody really cares.

A similar incident would happen a few weeks later, only this time it was the guy I knew to have started the rumor. I took a slightly different approach with him. I grabbed his arm and twisted it behind his back. Then, I told him the following, "you want to tell everyone I'm a faggot?, fine!, I'm going to march you in front of your friends and THEN! I'm going to kick your ass!".

At that point, he turned into something more animal than human and started pleading with me to let him go.

Ya know what?....I let him go.

He got about 8-9 feet away, turned around, and begged me to never tell anyone what just happened....and I never did....and he never bothered me again (he didn't go running to a teacher either)....and neither did his friends....even the harassing phone calls stopped....but I never did repair the damage to my social status, at least not until we moved again.

I submit that, if I truly had a problem with self control, I would have crushed that guy when I had the chance. All I really wanted, however, was for him to leave me alone, and I got that.

Sadly, high school students can't really hire lawyers to file slander and libel suits.

oh noes! cybar-bullying on teh intarwebz! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17752164)

Sure they care about this and want to stop it. Why? Becuase some nerdy bastard could "cyber-bully" the football team hero or the thugged out wannabe gangsta dudes.

Of coure when the most promising students in the school are allowed to be tortured every day no one cares about bullying then! And people wonder why our schools are failing!

But when some scrawny kid could actually turn the tables on the internet suddenly it has to be stopped!

Interesting problem... (1)

paladinwannabe2 (889776) | more than 7 years ago | (#17752216)

And not one that most people on /. have had experience with. What I find most interesting about it are two things:
1. It's easy to turn off a chat window or go to a different webpage, something you can't do in real life.
2. It's trackable- meaning that if the harrassment becomes bad enough you can easily show authorities what's going on. If someone is threatinging you in a hallway at school, there isn't really any proof you can give the authorities.

Re:Interesting problem... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17752360)

Yup, it's called an fucking OFF button. THey should be so lucky as to have such an easy way to escape their daily tormentors; I only had the clock on the wall.

Tormented for three hours on-line? You are a loser and so are the people doing it. Get off the computer and get some sunshine.

Old news. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17752220)

I personally did something of the sort about 8 years ago. Although it wasn't really a geek picking on other geeks, but more of calling out "whores" and the rest. I even created a tree diagram depicting everyone who should have STD's.

I hosted it locally on an httpd with a dyndns pointing at it. Within a few days it received a few thousand hits, all from the local school. The school immediately started crying legal action, I merely dropped the site's dyndns, shut down the httpd, and they were never wise enough to trace it. At the same time there were a good 5 or 6 fights at school happening to completely innocent parties. Everyone thought they knew who was to blame, and things went nuckin futts.

I'm sure today the school systems are a little more up to date on technology, and wouldn't posting things on the internet be prosecutable as liable and slander? I don't think the school systems and government should take action, but couldn't the parents of the children file civil cases against the parents of the children making these sites?

zero tolerance (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17752258)

Its simple if bullying or harrasment takes place online it should be prosecuted to full extent of the law as harrasment, and as theres no real direct way to prove the user of the pc at the time the bullying took place though its easy to trace the p, the owner of said pc should be charge with the crime and it is a crime. You can bet alot of parents will suddenly get their kids in line if they end up with an harrasment charge and a restraining order.

Kids also comminting crime using a computer should also be tried as adults.

Little harsh but they gotta learn

What?!?! (1)

Secret Rabbit (914973) | more than 7 years ago | (#17752272)

"If a student is harassed for three hours at night on the Web and they come to school and have to sit in the same classroom with the student that's the bully, there is an effect on education, and in that way, there is a direct link to schools," he argues.'"

How is this different from when kids /actually went out in the evening/ and got bullied for hours, and then had to sit in the same classroom with the bully?

Schools are completely failing not only with education, but with controlling students in the classroom as well. IMO, this type of thing is just schools attempting to gain control over something that isn't here domain because they have lost the ability to teach and control students. No-body likes to feel useless, but this is embarrassingly transparent.

Request Denied. (1)

kahei (466208) | more than 7 years ago | (#17752330)

'if it doesn't happen at school, can a district take action?'

No. No, it can't.

If a student is harassed for three hours at night on the Web and they come to school and have to sit in the same classroom with the student that's the bully, there is an effect on education, and in that way, there is a direct link to schools

If an auto plant on the other side of town emits heavy metal-containing fumes that impair concentration, there's an effect of education. If Syria invades Jordan, thus making all the Jordanians in the neighborhood stay up late listening to the news, there's an effect on education. If gas prices fall, thus creating extra traffic and possibly interfering with the school commute, there's an effect on education. If a hilarious new comedy sketch becomes meme-of-the-moment so that people spend their time repeating it to each other and giggling, there's an effect on education. If Mrs. Rhonda F. Tedzilliger of 4043 Sycamore Street, Des Moines, farts loudly within hearing of a group of kids who are so grossed out by the experience that they don't eat lunch and become listless in the afternoon, there's an effect on education.

None of this stuff is within the authority of your local school board.

It's the same old pattern whereby any organization, even a benevolent one, gradually claims it has an interest in everything adjacent to its actual job, and then everything adjacent to that, and so on. This is exactly what caused the British Empire and, worse yet, the Federal Government.

ALSO:

If a student is harassed for three hours at night on the Web

he should DO SOMETHING ELSE then. It's not like we're talking about real bullying. Sheesh.

In this post-Columbine world... (1)

UberOogie (464002) | more than 7 years ago | (#17752428)

Sorry. Just had a nasty flashback there. Carry on.

A great anti-bully tactic my father taught me... (3, Interesting)

PFI_Optix (936301) | more than 7 years ago | (#17752454)

/ignore

Okay, so that wasn't exactly what he told me. But that's how it applies to internet bullies.

Bullies get their jollies by making you look little. They want to feel superior to you. If you just put every account they create on ignore and don't bother reading whatever crap they post online in an attempt to get a rise out of you, they'll get bored and go elsewhere. The problem is that a lot of kids think they have to argue back any time anyone says something about them. They can't shut up long enough to realize they are giving the bully exactly what he wants.

Favorite stunt against a bully: I once told a guy I'd let him hit me three times and if he could knock me down with any of those three punches I'd give him $20. Three hits later I was still standing and he was seriously reconsidering the idea of a fight. He was a wuss and I knew it :)

Workplace, outside of work activities (2, Interesting)

RedneckJack (934223) | more than 7 years ago | (#17752520)

In some ways, schools parallel the workplace. The workplace is getting more intrusive on what you outside on your own time. Can you say drug testing for example. Also, some companies frown on some risky activities such as motorcycling. The biggest thing is getting fired for bogging even if anonymous and even not mentioning company name.

On one hand, the bullying needs to end but how far can a school go without being intrusive. One idea is the school steps in only if the behavior affects the classroom as mentioned. The connection should be documented just in case of future legal action. Most schools districts have a legal department and that department needs to be utilized just like companies.

weighing down children with the schoolyard anchor (2, Insightful)

nido (102070) | more than 7 years ago | (#17752532)

Bullying is an essential part of the compulsory school experience. However would the government subjugate millions of creative little minds into obedient automatons, without getting the kids' help in doing it to themselves? In the one-roomed schoolhouse, older students keep the younger students in line and model appropriate behavior. Learning is the student's responsibility, and the teacher is there to provide a little guidance. In the age-segregated factory school, learning is the teacher's responsibility. It is impossible for a single teacher to be able to engage 25-30+ different learning styles - perhaps a good teacher could reach 5 of his/her students. The other 20 kids in the class become bored out of their little minds, and a certain percentage of those kids turn to not-so-nice pursuits to entertain themselves.

I think I mentioned the Columbine shootings a few months back, and someone replied recommending Going Postal - Rage, Murder and Rebellion: From Reagan's Workplaces to Clinton's Columbine and Beyond [amazon.com] . I read this last night:

Indeed, the intense fear of [a slave] insurrection seems to match the intensity of the collective denial about its cause. This is reminiscent of the countless school shooting plots "uncovered" over the past few years. While the culture continues to blame everything but schools for schoolyard massacres, paranoia increases, zero tolerance policies are applied oftentimes irrationally, and many kids' lives are being [ruined?] due to rumor, fear, or childish boasting of the sort that was once ignored.

Much like today's mainstream rush to blame Hollywood, the NRA, or other fuzzy outsiders for causing rage massacres that occur in offices and schoolyards, Americans, particularly Southerners right up to the late 1850's, blamed any slave unrest or rebellion on "outside agitators," whether on Northern abolitionist extremists or alien Jacobins. And they sincerely believed it. They couldn't even imagine that domestic conditions, that the very institution of slavery, caused slaves to rebel. It didn't make sense to them and those who suggested such a thing simply 'didn't understand.' To suggest that slavery as an institution and the South's culture caused black insurrection and violence was dangerous lunacy, an abolitionists was shunned and marginalized as today's Earth Liberation Front activists. (pg 46)

Substitute "children" for "slaves" and "compulsory school" for "slavery", and this paragraph perfectly describes why the bullying problem perpetuates itself: "we're" currently incapable of recognizing how the institution itself creates the problem. Gatto [johntaylorgatto.com] describes the government school as "psychopathic"...

Later chapters are on the Columbine and other schoolyard shooters, but I haven't gotten there yet.

(p.s. If you see this, thanks for the book recommendation, Slashdotter, whoever you were... :)

Rights of the Bully (1)

Quzak (1047922) | more than 7 years ago | (#17752534)

Nobody realizes that people have the right to bully others. It brings them enjoyment so why should they be infringed upon? Also hazing rituals should be brought back as the social norm.

Abu Ghraib (1)

sgauss (639539) | more than 7 years ago | (#17752756)

Was a big step forward for this!

Outside school - legal recourse? (1)

John Whorfin (19968) | more than 7 years ago | (#17752638)

If it's outside school, shouldn't it then be the domain of police and/or lawyers? Libel, defamation and assault come to mind.

Of course, this would require those same parents who sue MySpace for not watching their kids.

Not Fair (1)

tehwebguy (860335) | more than 7 years ago | (#17752694)

Cyber-bullying is all that we have to fight back against the real life bullies!

Sticks and stones (0, Troll)

smoker2 (750216) | more than 7 years ago | (#17752712)

In a world where we are constantly having our rights eroded, and being told what is best for us by the state, I find it disappointing that this subject still comes up.

It's your life - if you don't like what's happening to you, either grow a thicker skin or DO something about it ! And no, whining to the nearest "authorities" doesn't count - that's just avoiding the issue. If you are being physically bullied, then the only thing that will stop it happening is fighting back. Bullies only attack people who don't fight back - logic 101. If you are being mentally bullied, then get a life. You will never be able to take the world outside if you feel oppressed by every little hitler who says something nasty to you.

It's called self respect and it's the lack of this vital feeling that is the cause of so many of societies current problems. Without self respect you can never really respect anybody else and so no-one will respect you. Self respect is NOT being a hero in front of your mates, it's NOT acting like you are the best thing going, it IS being sure of yourself and taking responsibility for your own life and actions.

The sad thing is, the more people complain about bullying, and the less they actually do about it themselves, the worse the problem gets for everybody. It results in the government passing laws and regulations which affect everybody, even those who can and do stand up for themselves.

But remember folks, it's not your fault ! </sarcasm >

Censoring kids is a horrible idea. (0)

egarland (120202) | more than 7 years ago | (#17752794)

Schools are government organizations and if you are a child, the schools rules are forced upon you. A government organization removing people's free speech rights is a horrible idea and quite correctly prohibited by the constitution.

Administrators like to think of the students like stores think of customers... here's how things are, take it or leave it. The problem is, there is no "leave it". Truancy laws say you have to go somewhere and essentially no children have the financial means to chose to go somewhere else.

If you take away a kids right to free speech during school hours you haven't really taken it away, you've just pushed it to non-school hours. This seems reasonable. If you take it away at home, however, you've removed it completely.

Repression of free speech is unconstitutional because it is a stupid idea. Inevitably it leads to the opposite of what it intends. Bad thoughts and ideas fester in private and die when the light of many eyes are shown upon them.

Just because something affects a school doesn't mean school administrators have control over it. They have tons of tools at their disposal, ones that will actually work. Try those. Get creative.

A good solution to bullying (5, Insightful)

Lord_Slepnir (585350) | more than 7 years ago | (#17752874)

My mom gave me a good solution when I was being bullied on my 45 minute bus ride into Wilmington every day. After a month of trying to talk to the principal, bus driver, and teacher, she just told me "Next time he touches you, just punch him". Never had any trouble from him again. Best part was in the Principal's office.

"Your son should know that lying will get his suspension extended. he keeps saying that you told him to hit the other child"
"Yes, that's correct"
"errrr...hmmm. Never got that one before"

Of course, these days, I would have been expelled, and my mother brought up on "conspiracy to commit assault" charges, while the jackass on the bus that was bullying would have just picked a new target.

there should be a teacher there to protect kids on the playground, but past a certain point, kids need to learn to stand up for themselves. When they get into the world, there will always be people that will attempt to bully them, whether it's their boss trying to get them to work unpaid overtime, or any one of a hundred other things in life. If they spent their childhood running to a hug consoler, they'll never know how to handle it in real life.

You think bullying is bad in American schools? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17752908)

Find a copy of this Japanese tv series: Hana Yori Dango. Watch a few episodes of it - there's some real bullying for you.

A little vocabulary note (2, Funny)

Acy James Stapp (1005) | more than 7 years ago | (#17752938)

"Deter". It's short, to the point, and has a precise and exactly conveys the intended meaning. "Short-circuit" is long, vague, and even given the benefit of the doubt as to its suitability, has a connotation of impeding a positive action.

Also, I'm better than you.

Acy

Bring back corporal punishment? (2, Insightful)

192939495969798999 (58312) | more than 7 years ago | (#17752968)

My dad tells me stories of when he was in school, that if you started teasing other kids in class, etc. teachers would bust you in the head with a dictionary. I am pretty sure that would stop just about any bully these days, from the shock value alone. I find it likely that a bully is getting no punishment at home, and I don't advocate physical punishment, but maybe the administration and law enforcement should step up punishment of bullies (hitting is still assault, right?)

This is ridiculous. (4, Interesting)

Pig Hogger (10379) | more than 7 years ago | (#17752974)

When I was a kid, I was sent to a french school where everything was imported from France, teachers, schoolbooks, comrades and the teaching methods.

One of those was the teachers encouraging other students to laugh at you whenever you screwed-up.

Since I screwed-up a lot, I soon developped the ability to not give a rat's ass about what other people think of me, an ability that has served me pretty well in the decades since.

But of course, in a politically-correct ages, busybodies have to have something to do, too, no?

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