Wednesday, July 14, 2010
@sshats, Douchebaggery, and Bullying
I know a couple of my kids have truly hated school and dreaded going following a snide or thoughtless comment. I can't imagine it was any easier for the girl maligned on YouTube.
The father "would not allow" his daughter to take the video off YouTube, though the daughter offered to. His argument is that the school was wrong in suspending his daughter for off-campus behavior. While this may be true, there is something that the school can and should do. Get policies in place. If there is an instance of cyberbullying that comes to their attention, the parents (of both bullied and bully) should get (at a minimum) a phone call, as that will make it easier for parents to exert their influence on the bully, and for the parents of the bullied to affect a treatment plan for anxieties caused by said bullying.
I am all in favor of the schools not meddling in our private lives. That being said, the private life affects the educational life, as we all know. Trauma in one area of life often affects another. And being bullied is traumatic, particularly to peer-dependent, socially anxious teenagers, whether they be neurotypical or disabled in one area or another.
However, the Minnesota State High School League provides a bit of recourse, at least against bullies involved in extra-curriculars. The students who participate in MSHSL activities must, each year sign a statement of behavior that is not allowed, including drugs, alcohol, tobacco, and the like. ALSO...they are suspended from said extra-curriculars for behaviors such as harassment, poor sportsmanship, etc. I think the YouTube video would qualify as harassment, at the very least. While the school itself does not suspend said students, the High School League prohibits their practice and playing in games of the extra-curriculars such as sports, Speech, Choir (though choir gets weird since it's co-curricular - only prohibited from public performances), Drama, etc. Since the contract is signed by both parent and student, it does, indeed cover off-campus behavior as well as on-campus, including the students' freetime.
Although the father won the case, and perhaps he should have, regarding the school suspension, it is his failure to address whether his daughter's actions were ethical, moral, or just that frankly bothers me. They weren't.
We're all in this together,