Report: Cyberbullying at local high schools
A reader I know and trust to be truthful on sharing something like this, put together the image above and sent it to me. He said it's a collection of Facebook status updates from people being bullied and their tormentors. All of the teenagers involved, he said, are students at Batavia High School. He said knowledge of an increase of cyberbullying against some students at BHS is common knowledge among the students.
One point I want to add: Cyberbullying is a crime.
It can be charged as harassment in the second degree, which is a Class B misdemeanor. Cyberbullies should be reported either by victims or their parents to police. Witnesses can also report crimes, but in most cases it will take a victim who cooperates with the investigation to proceed with criminal charges.
UPDATE 12:34 p.m.: I received an e-mail from somebody familiar with the situation and said students from mulitple Genesee County high schools are involved and one of the targets is not a student of BHS. Any confusion on the school involvement is the result of my own misunderstanding of the original e-mail I received.
He sent along the following op-ed with the image.
In the age of social media and increasing technology, every day people see things on the news about cyberbullying and harrassment and many don't realize the seriousness of what is being done. Sometimes they don't think it's happening to anyone they know. Sometimes they don't think its happening to anyone near them. Sometimes people don't realize how serious it can be until it's too late.
Recently, many students in Genesee County school districts have had their Facebook news feeds, filled with cyberbullying of a few students, and the issue is only getting bigger and more widespread. But only a few are standing up for the victims, while more and more join in to bully, and many of the victims, are sitting back without knowing what to do.
"Like this stuff was bad. Worries me... :/" stated one student's Facebook comment. It "turns your stomache. Doesnt matter what someones done noone deserves that to be said," said another when responding about the nature of the cyberbullying posts.
In the most recent and student popularized bullying case (photo collage), there is one student being bullied, and upwards of 30+ cyberbullies making comments directly or indirectly toward her, while hundreds of students have 'Liked' status updates supporting the bullying acts.
According to the nonprofit website www.stopcyberbullying.com:
'Cyberbullying' is when a child, preteen or teen is tormented, threatened, harassed, humiliated, embarrassed or otherwise targeted by another child, preteen or teen using the Internet, interactive and digital technologies or mobile phones. It has to have a minor on both sides, or at least have been instigated by a minor against another minor. Once adults become involved, it is plain and simple cyberharassment or cyberstalking.
Cyberbullying can be done for many reasons. Many times, it's done by someone with insecurities, hoping to boost their social standing. Other times, the power-hungry do it looking to boost their ego. There is also the bullying done as revenge, out of anger, and sometimes students are cyberbullying without even intentionally trying to.
While many students, usually believe their words are harmless, what they say can many times lead to a higher level of misdemeanor cyberharassment charges.
There are two kinds of cyberbullying, direct attacks (messages sent to your kids directly) and cyberbullying by proxy (using others to help cyberbully the victim, either with or without the accomplice's knowledge).
Not only does cyberbullying, include harassment that could bring upon legal issues, but many times, it also turns into defamation. Defamation, which is also known as slander, is the communication of a statement that makes a claim, expressly stated or implied to be factual, that may give an individual a negative image. Many times students often take it to the extent of defamation by making up rumors or doing whatever else it takes to make the bullied look as bad as possible.
Parents need to be the one trusted person kids can go when things go wrong online and offline. Yet they often are the ones kids avoid when things go wrong online. Why? Parents tend to overreact. Most children will avoid telling their parents about a cyberbullying incident fearing they will only make things worse.
Parents also need to understand that a child is just as likely to be a cyberbully as a victim of cyberbullying and often go back and forth between the two roles during one incident. They may not even realize that they are seen as a cyberbully.
The message is simple. Don't write it. Don't send it. For more info on cyberbullying and how to prevent it, visit http://www.stopcyberbullying.org/.
A 2010 Attica graduate, Jesse Kern, that is currently serving in the Army, publicly defended one of the most recent victims on his Facebook page and posted this video and commented: "People just don't get it."
We need to be actively praying and actively LISTENING to our young people. Why are these teens on a social media sites without their parents reading what they are writing and reading? These sites were made for adults and should be CLOSELY monitored when used by teens. I pray that it doesn't take a suicide for people to stand up and get proactive about this.
I think that there ought to be a new state law, call it "Jamey's Law" after Jamey Rodemeyer, that provides a 'three strikes and you're expelled' punishment for bullying, including cyber-bullying. It's simple, kids will get it and it will put a serious academic and social consequence to their actions online or at school. Legislatevly, it could be easily added by amending Article 2, section 13 of NYS Education law.
I think that it might be time to get back to basics and allow kids who are being bullied to settle it the "old fashioned" way.
My theory is that like everything else, bullying STARTS AT HOME. These kids that bully other kids feel the need to put other kids down in order to feel like they're above SOMEBODY - - ANYBODY - - because they're not valued - or are being bullied themselves at home. Just a theory on my part, but to me it's the same as child abuse - - the abused become the abusers, very often.
i was on my sons facebook and this is only half of the story the girl that is being cyber bullied post nasty disrespectful status's about a new person everyday and from my point of view shes just trying to get attention. this girl is currently still posting statuss about other people even after the cyberbullying was reported. so maybe this should be settled the "old fashion" way or this girls parents can take control of the situation and keep her off facebook where she seems to be starting/having all of these problems before it goes even further.
I am completely against bullying in general, but I cannot resist commenting. I watched this entire thing happened, and like Lucie said, there is a lot more to this story that is not being said. Not all of the kids are from Batavia. And the person who posted the status "I'm so sick of everyone and everything" had just posted a status about an hour earlier calling another girl a slut and tagged the girl in it. This same girl is also known to call many girls fat, ugly, stupid and many other choice words. If that's not bullying, then I don't know what is. Like I said, I do not agree with it. But this girl started a fight over numerous statuses last night by tearing apart several different people and being extremely harsh, and then went back and deleted every mean status she had posted to make it seem like she was purely a victim and had no part in any of it. I know because I watched her do it.
It is extremely painful to watch the video, the angst is so raw on his face and in the way his hands shake. Something needs to be done to address an issue that is literally killing our teenagers. I admit being torn because many of the answers call for either more government or censorship, neither of which am I a big fan. However, if the internet were a physical place with walls and doors, not many of us as parents would let our teenagers go in.
I loathe to think that government and legislation are the answers, but with large scale failures in parenting, schooling, churches, and general lack of a moral compass, we are left with few options as more teens fall victim everyday.
It all goes back to parenting.
I've seen all of these statuses. I know many of the people involved and who the person being "bullied" is. That person makes remarks that would be considered bullying themselves. Sure, people can be harsh. But if you're going to say something, then expect people to say stuff to/about you. This person is very well known in a negative way. I'm not justifying cyber bullying by any means. But this small incident is being blown out of proportion more than it needs to be.
My original comment was edited because some of these other comments are making me wonder about the "bullied" person. Sounds like a troublemaker, who is now looking for attention.
Parenting is only one component of what has gone wrong here. We used to live in a culture where parents, teachers, pastors, and neighbors were all on the same page when it came to proper adolescent behavior. There was a time when you acted out at school, or at a local store, or church, or wherever and got caught, the adults involved communicated with each other and discipline was consistent (usually swift too). Children had boundaries and those boundaries were the same at home as they were in public. Bullying is the natural outcome of no boundaries and inconsistent discipline in most aspects of a kids life. A child naturally pushes until they come across something that doesn't move or pushes back.
Dylan, when it comes to bullying, there is no such thing as blowing it out of proportion. Regardless of who is doing it and for what reasons, it is always wrong, even if it's a person who has been a bully in the past being bullied. It's just wrong. And it's a serious issue with potentially serious consequences.
Somebody sent me a screen shot of one of the threads -- it showed multiple people behaving badly. There's a real problem here that needs to be dealt with and if we can play a role in bringing that discussion around, then we've done the right thing.
If there's proof out there that she has been the bully before then why do people side with her the single time she's the victim? I don't condone bullying. I'm just saying that lesser forms of it aren't the biggest deal. You tell a kid that they aren't good at something. Whether it be athletics or academics. That's bullying. Later on in life, they're told that they aren't good enough for a certain job they want. That's life.
It's one thing to make remarks about somebody. It's another to attack them and tell them to do things such as kill themselves. When it achieves the level of telling one another to kill themselves, or to a physical level of hazing, then it should be a big deal. As for right now, it's just a bunch of teenagers voicing their negative opinion of somebody. Who has in the past, voiced their negative opinion of others.
I like how this is one sided journalism at its finest, the "bullied" has been known for her cyber bullying and when people try to send screen shots of her statuses to prove she isnt as innocent as shes making herself out ti be howard refuses to post those but eill oost someone elses collage they put together, stop being one sided and show both parts.
It seems like howard doesnt care if his stories are accurate or not and doesnt go out of his way to get facts right especially if it goed against something hes already wrote...but im sure my comments will get deleted because you can never speak up against howard
And how is he getting these teenagers facebook status..pretty creepy..don't get me wrong no one wants anyone to hurt themselves but if you're going to publish a story publish both sides when neither side is innocent
Do not know the parties involved but, it sounds like this is more of an eye for an eye scenario. The comment clips above in my eyes, seems like more of a quarrel. Cannot really make out all of them but, from the ones I can, it looks more like a quarrel than bullying. Basically, some name calling, disagreements and instigation from both sides. We need to control bullying. Sheltering kids from minor name calling is not helping them. Name calling is always going to be part of one's life. Disagreement is always going to be part of one's life. One's feeling getting hurt is always going to be part of one's life. One of things I saw in that YouTube video is even though Jonah was tired, upset, had suicidal thoughts and cut himself to dull the pain of being bullied. He ended with "I AM STRONGER THEN THAT!" Sheltering kids too much seems to result in giving children a false sense of protection. When the real world comes they will not know how to handle it.
Schools have just as big of a role as parents in trying to stop bullying. We as a society have the same responsibilities. I saw a Dateline Special, where they would have actors play certain roles. One was of bullying, it was several boys standing around a fat woman and barraging her with fat jokes and insults. Dateline watch bystanders viewing the incident and watched how many turned the other way instead of getting involved. Several did get involved and you can probably call them the “One Percent” or maybe the “Half Percent!” School officials do not act properly and often tell the parents involved, “its kids being kids!” Some parents are too overly sensitive and complained about ever name calling incident or are in denial that their little angel could do such a mean thing or who cares, teach your kid to stick up for himself/herself.
That was well written John, I agree with you. Carping about he said - she said will not resolve an issue. Parenting is hard work, I know firsthand. Children will learn by the example set by their parents the most. If you can't maintain a level head when dealing with others, including your family; your children will not learn coping skills. It truly is as simple as that. If everytime your kid disobeys, you yell and flip out, that's how they'll deal with adversity, and they will admit nothing to you. Now, having said that, nobody is perfect and looking back I could have done a lot of things better and practiced more of what I preach. Life can be harsh, some people are jerks and mean, teenagers have to learn to deal with it. It's not easy by any means to get teens to discuss their lives with their parents especially if the parents have poor coping and impulse control skills, but kids and parents you both gotta try. Respect is a 2 way street, if you give it, you'll get it. Patience is not one of my virtues admittedly, but if you continue to attempt communication with a consistent message of trying to understand, and love; you'll be surprised that your parents or kids will make concessions and move to the middle. Open communication is key to dealing with this type of garbage.
That's all I got.
Except, no Daniel we don't need any more laws
A few years ago Hilary Clinton, whom I dislike for her high-handed ideas and propensity for telling everyone else what to do; wrote a book "It Takes a Village" I never read it. It was much maligned for promoting a socialistic view of substituting parents responsibility for raising and caring for their children, I don't know if it did or didn't. I don't care either. I do however, like the concept of the title. Maybe what I get from it is not what she intended, but again, don't care. It does take a village to raise a child. Yes, parents are responsible for their offspring and the home is where children should be learning most of their social skills. But, think about it, all adults have a responsibility to help children grow. Our examples in particular. They are watching us, how we conduct ourselves, the things we do and say. No we don't have the right to tell others how to raise their children, we should respect the parents decisions in child rearing, within reasonable limits of course. But we are role models and should conduct ourselves accordingly. We owe it to the future.
Tyler and Dylan.... You need to be welcomed into the adult world. Kids these days want to have the ability to be free of monitoring from parents especially with their cell phones, facebook and twitter accounts, however there is a flipside to that. If you want that freedom then you have to use it responsibly. This incident seems as John characterized it an "eye for an eye" situation. Well kids I can tell you which way this is gonna go now, there will be regulation coming.
There are already laws in place about cyberbullying, for good reason as Sharilyn posted, just a couple of months ago there was a 14 yr old girl in spencerport who was bullied into suicide, the ensuing fiasco on facebook (of which I was witness to myself) The bullies even continued to post after her death, to hurt those who knew and loved this girl. When the worm turned they quickly deleted these posts but some had cut and pasted them already. Ogden police and school district officials looked stupid an inept because they really didnt know how to deal with this.
What's next, hmmm. What I see happening is a no tolerance policy developing in the schools, I'm sure the death of even one child or even the attempt at suicide will make this happen, then law enforcement and social media will jump on the bandwagon. You will find communication and education between LE and sites like Facebook becoming common. Then you the kids, will one day wake up and find out that you wont be able to delete posts of anykind. Then what will you do? Even here on the Batavian, Howard has had to consider takin away this ability to delete or edit posts. Its the natural progression of this type of thing. The days of anonymity and being an internet tough guy are numbered. You'll still have the freedom to do it, but you will have a personal responsibility for what is typed and the backlash of responsibility.
Its not gonna be taken seriously though til someone is made to pay the piper. Which means the victim of a cyberbully dies or kills themself, then the bully(s) lives are ruined with a manslaughter or murder charge. Thus ruining everyones life.
You kids today can stop this by taking an active stand, you see cyberbullying, take steps to stop it, go ask a spencerport student what the costs are for standing by and letting it go on. No matter how trivial it seems to you it can end up costing someone a life because words nowadays can kill.
Kyle wrote, "Kids these days want to have the ability to be free of monitoring from parents especially with their cell phones, facebook and twitter accounts,"
These are the same kids who will grow up to demand little monitoring from government as well.
For all of you who share their point of view, have heart, when they become the movers and shakers of the next generation, your hopes for a government free of regulations is just around the corner.
"These are the same kids who will grow up to demand little monitoring from government as well."
This has become a serious issue. It needs to be brought out into the open, like Howard is doing more often, which is surely delicate. I have to say I'm not in favor though of heavy-handed government involvement. It'll just become a game for some of these kids. Basically what it is now. With freedom comes responsibility, and vice versa. A main pillar of libertarian thought, something statists flat just don't get. I don't have the answer, but I can tell you that the fastest way to get a teenager to do something, is tell them not to. Tell them you're watching, and the game is on.
God help us if these little monsters end up in control of the government.
Dave - I'm surprised to hear that you as a libertarian would be against such a law, it empowers local school districts to make determinations that someone was engaging in harassment, which is already defined by the state and give them teeth to expel students after three warnings. No more expenses in terms of tutoring and counseling from the district, when expelled the students and their parents would have to accept responsibility for their child's education. It would also give local districts some actual teeth with dealing with this problem. This is also a state law and not a power provided to the federal government. I'm sorry to hear that you would be that rigid to oppose anything that would be a 'new law', even one that gives local communities more control.
Also, Hillary said that the village was not the government, it was a community that involved everyone in it, parents, teachers, ministers, business leaders and everyday citizens that had to be involved in a child's life and that the government needs to foster such a community, not raise the child itself. The title is often taken out of context.
A change in the law sounds good in theory. But we have seen how some district school boards abuse things like zero tolerance rules on guns, then suspend little kids who draw one. Or how about suspensions of little kids who bring in Valentine Cards and give somebody a hug?
How can we guarantee the Boards will not be able to go overboard?
If you go back on YouTube that kid made up that video. It was all a hoax and he even explained it in a different video joking around about how he lied to get everyone's attention.
Maybe I should read Hilary's book. Ouch, that hurt.
Bullying exists in every sector of adult life.
It exists whenever a dominant person or idea becomes aware of a weaker person or idea.
It exists whenever a majority becomes aware of a minority.
It exists whenever someone or something "needs" to be marginalized.
Bullying by children is human nature and is observed from the seen and unseen aspects of life in general.
Bullying exists as way to enforce a chain of command, a dogmatic inkling, a cultural line, a way of life.
What we are now seeing is that our young generation has taken their journalism (ie diaries and whatnot) and have posted them to the world to see. They have been groomed in a manner that states that it is ok to express their very soul on an everyday basis...This way, we as adults, can passivly be involved in our children's lives.
What is going on is no different than what Marshall McCluhan discovered when he said "the medium is the message" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_medium_is_the_message
If you follow ANY public opinion threads even on The Batavian, cyberbullying exists. It may not fit nicely into a codified definition, but it is there.
By the numbers many more people view The Batavian than comment on it. All of these threads laid down by adults are being viewed.
It is OK to express opinion. It is OK to defend it with the Constitution. But it is also OK to have the maturity to know when a line has been crossed (whether defended by law or not).
My take on all this bullying stuff is this:
Bullying exists. Some kids are dying (with all due respect-teen suicide was a supposed "huge" after school special type issue when I was growing up-not much was done with it...wonder if it had anything to do with not having both parents around to be a mentor).
A question I have on my FB page "...Will your child be able to defend or run this country in 20 years..." seems to be more relevant everyday. What I feel we are seeing is the mirror reflection of us as adults, leading and defending not so much the nation as a whole, but our piece of the world locally.
We as adults are doing this in a manner that is more efficient for us, as we are working 2,3 sometimes 4 jobs to support a chosen lifestyle. What are we saying when it is blatenly obvious that children are not self-raised fully mature and ready to go (turnkey) operators at 13 years old?
What ever happened to the old fashioned "grabass games" that was played as children? (I think every mom hated when dad and the kids started bug-tussling. But, I remember each and every time that when we the kids where about to get one up on the old man, he would inevidebly say "...OK, I quit..." Always would bug the snot out of me and my brother...but, you know what...that phrase is what actually taught us emotional self control. That is kinda what sets the boundries for when adrenaline and emotion meet. This can not be taught in schools, is forbidden mostly from conversation on line-context issues with 'touching' and 'violence', but almost always goes well with face to face conversation.)
By taking away a healthy competative enviromnment and having mentors available to explain what is happening (thinking back to some of the best coaches, scoutmasters and teachers that I had that didn't necessarily need to have Master's degrees, but excelled at good "common sense technology") to the children, they are left to their own devices.
The goal for the moment is internet virality. It does not matter if it is truthful or not.
We as adults have portrayed that the American Dream is no longer owning a home, with nuclear family, caring for future generations of us, or more crassly as Father David Schieder taught at Notre Dame HS "...the american dream is indeed about power, pleasure, prestige..." now the american dream of the moment rather is about-how "nuclear" you can get and how famous you are for the moment.
We as parents have taken to defending our children like they were national treasures, instead of "training" them as adults. We have taken to becoming helicopter parents, nonsupportive of the establishment. I am by no means the perfect parent. Not even close. Even as my daughter becomes fully fledged as a productive American adult, I know that the issues are out there.
I know the costs of success.
I also know the costs of our collective failures...
The internet is a wonderful modality, however, a great deal of maturity is also needed when exercising 1st amendment rights as citizens. We as adults need to be hyperaware of the truths of life that fallout from our decisions. We need to be vigilant above and beyond what was taught to us as children. Living in the GLOW region does not shield us from that responsability. It only enhances it.
We no longer live in a global village. That went away with satellite communication.
Bullying, now in the open on the net is a sign...
We indeed now live in a viral village, and no one seems to care about the cure...
Nice, thoughtful post, Gary.
John - Because there is already a definition of harassment, they would have to meet the definition of harassment as already defined by NYS Education law. There is legal recourse to appeal a school district's decision. There would also be two warnings before the ability to expel, two chances for kids and their parents to meet with the district and try to work things out. I'm not talking about minor competition or the normal ups and downs of high school life, I'm talking about physical and emotional harassment, one that even I didn't deal with when I was in middle and high school, we didn't say the kinds of things to each other even 5 short years ago that they say to each other online now.
Based on how some school districts have acted, I'd leave it to the DA.
If you go back on YouTube that kid made up that video. It was all a hoax and he even explained it in a different video, joking around about how he lied to get everyone's attention.
Amber my dear you simply need to straighten out your facts. 1) The first video was produced by the kid in it, however something like that doesn not just happen spontaneously. He did plan it out as he co-ordinated the music and action, if you watch he had another screen or camera off screen probably with a script or storyboard. This does nothing to take away from the message he was getting out, or the emotions that came out during the video.
2)Yes he did publish another video that was cocky and sarcastic, but you failed to view the third one he published that apologized for the second one which was a SARCASTIC response to the jerks bashing him in comments and emails.
You seem to outspoken in marginalising and diffusing the seriousness of this subject of bullying. Makes one wonder what your motivations are?
Dave - It wasn't meant to be a burn, my good man. Was just pointing out that people are often mislead about the title.
John - There are different definitions of criminal harassment and educational harassment, the hypothetical bill I would be discussing would be a way of dealing with those who are meeting the definition of educational harassment, give districts some teeth to give them two warnings and then expel them, furthermore, it would give schools the opportunity to punish students who engage in cyber-bullying outside of school. Which is needed. I do not ever remember anyone in high school rising to the level of bullying that is being seen now. Again, there is legal recourse to appealing a school district's decision.
Dan, I didn't take it that way, it sounds as though her premise and mine are close. I just hate giving her and her husband any slack. LOL
I've rarely commented here since moving back to Rochester, but due to the topic at hand, I can't resist.
Some of those comments in that image are really reaching if you want to call them "cyberbulling". Calling someone a "dumb bitch" or similar is insulting, rude and vulgar. It isn't bullying.
Bullying is harassment. Constant harassment. Contrary to popular myth, insulting someone is not bullying. Maybe repeated, consistent insults could be considered bullying, but very few of the quotes are actual bullying, and the rest are really weak examples. Don't get me wrong, I'm against cyberbullying, but this "saying mean things about someone is bullying" logic is ridiculous.
Our justice system has really gone to shit if gone are the days you can't call someone a "dumb bitch" without getting a criminal background over it.