Local News | Cyberbullying leads to suspension of 28 middle-schoolers at McClure | Seattle Times Newspaper

Here’s a perfect example of how we have gone overboard in this country when it comes to protecting our kids from the real world.  I don’t agree with this at all.

I will agree that bullying, regardless of whether it’s done in cyberspace or not is wrong; however, we have all been bullied one time or another, and as far as I remember, as long as it wasn’t on school grounds, the school had no authority to be involved.  For the school to decide arbitrarily that it has some sort of jurisdiction here makes no sense to me.

The principal even stated that “…even though the bullying didn't occur on school grounds, she said, the district has a responsibility to get involved when an incident creates significant disruption or concern at school.” – A significant disruption?  “School administrators learned Tuesday evening about a Facebook page targeting the victim and investigated Wednesday.” – How is this a significant disruption?  It didn’t even happen during the school day.

Can someone please explain to me how a Facebook page that says “Join the I Hate So-and-So Page” warrants an investigation and suspension of 28 students?

Local News | Cyberbullying leads to suspension of 28 middle-schoolers at McClure | Seattle Times Newspaper

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James A. Restucci is the author of this blog. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 Internal License.

11 Responses to Local News | Cyberbullying leads to suspension of 28 middle-schoolers at McClure | Seattle Times Newspaper

  1. AvatarTVNews says:

    Fox may not be aware of this. I haven’t seen it go by on the national wires.

  2. AvatarLibby says:

    One more word on this subject from me: I was watching FOX NEWS and they had an interesting segment about this very subject several days ago. It was about cyber-bullying and a school suspending two students who were using FACEBOOK after school hours to do it. It happened in California though, not Washington. It went all the way to the Cal. Supreme Ct. and the Court ruled that the school had over-stepped it’s authority.

    Just thought everyone would like to know. I was kind of surprised that the FOX program didn’t focus on the Washington case since it involved so many more students. Probably because it hadn’t reached your State’s Supreme Ct. level yet?

  3. AvatarTVNews says:

    Jeanine,

    For once you are right. The parents have to take an active roll in parenting their children. However, beyond that point you fall off the cliff of government intrusion.

    By your numbers:

    1 – Don’t have a clue what you are on about there.

    2 – As Jim saved me the trouble, I won’t go into “there’s no such thing” with you. As for “district policies,” I don’t give a damn what policies are handed down from on high. If they over step their bounds, those policies will be ignored. I have and still would go to the legal mat to shut them down in every case. And I am used to winning those arguments.

    The school can make all the reasonable rules they want for their campuses. But that rule stops at the curb. There can be no exceptions to that because the minute you open that door, it is all over but the crying.

    For example:
    – The school in New England that threatened to expel any child that handled a gun off campus including family hunting trips.
    – The California School district that tried to enforce a policy determining how much television and what television shows students could watch at home. They also had a “disallowed” list of video games and movies.
    – Schools all over the nation forcing students into some kind of community service in order to graduate.

    All of these things and more are illegal and an attempt to gain a foothold into students private off campus lives.

    3 – Big government trying to be Big Brother in the true spirit of Hillary’s “It Takes A Village” garbage is exactly what this is about. The school is not the parent. The school’s only job is to teach the students to read, write, math, history and some of the basic legal standards like no stealing, no hitting, respect for authority, etc.

    Where we get into trouble is when the school tries to be the parent. When that is allowed to happen it is the fault of the parents and the school. The parents should never allow the school to assume any authority over the child once that child steps off the campus or off the school bus.

    The districts need to get this “the parents aren’t smart enough to raise their own kids” thing as well. Usually that really means the parents aren’t supporting the proper liberal programing.

    As for your last paragraph, there is nothing to stop the school district from calling police to stop a violent act off campus. I have no problem with faculty stepping off campus to break up a fight. But the discipline has to be left either to the police and/or the parents because it is not their call off school grounds.

    Students have been killing themselves since I was in grade school. It happens. With a population of school students as large as we have in the United States, you are going to have some suicides.

    That is a valid reason to open dialogs with students at school about their problems. It may even be an excuse to offer mental health through the school.

    But that is not an excuse for the school system invade the students off campus life. There is no excuse for that.

  4. Avatarjeanine says:

    You misread and misunderstood my post. I understand that each district is responsible for implementing a doorstep-to-doorstep policy; however, what you misunderstood, is that while district officials were notified of the incident after school hours, there is no telling when the incident actually occured. If, after investigation, it is determined that the individuals involved started the page during school hours, than the district should take action.

    I don’t think we are disagreeing on this issue at all. Re-read my post. Our society has come to expect that teachers and school’s, by proxy, will take on the role of parent as well as teacher and I think that that is a dangerous place for a school to occupy. As I said, parents need to take control in this situation. If your kid is being bullied than it is your job to protect your child, even if that means you are protecting him/her from the teacher.

    So many people are decrying the lengths the school district went to to prevent this bullying incident from growing; however, they are neglecting the fact that parents who think “the school knows best” are just as much to blame as the idea of “big government.”

  5. Avatarjimr says:

    Sorry Jeanine, this is one time when we are going to disagree. I spoke to an attorney at the Municipal Research Services Center, because I wanted to see what type of liability our district would have, if we attempted the same thing. According to them, the “doorstep to doorstep” policy is not a State law, and although many districts have them, they do not trump Federal or State law.

    A school district’s Internet policy cannot extend past our outside of the school district’s network or equipment.

    Libby, you were correct in your first assumption, the school district does not have a leg to stand on here.

    However, she did say in this case (they have been monitoring it) it will unfortunately have to be decided by the courts, as a number of law suits have already been filed.

  6. AvatarLibby says:

    Jeanine makes a very good point. I had no idea that Washington State had a doorstep-to-doorstep policy. Or any state for that matter. I’ve never heard of it before.

    Her point about schools being required to do the job of a parent coincides with my point that parents in a lot of cases aren’t doing a good job of parenting. The schools are expected and required to take up the slack.

  7. Avatarjeanine says:

    1. You need to elaborate on “this.” What do YOU mean by “this.”

    2. Washington State is a doorstep-to-doorstep state; thus, the school has jurisdiction from the time the child leaves home in the morning until they return home in the evening. So, there is the statement that this occured after school, in the evening. This does not mean that the page wasn’t created at the school or that bullying did not occur at the school. It just means that the school was notified after school hours.

    3. This has nothing to do with big government and everything to do with the notion that a school’s job is not only to educate students in reading, science, math, etc., but to also do the job of the parent. I cannot tell you how often I have to deal with a lack of manners and respect because parents have left that job up to the schools (and I teach “adults”).

    So here’s the solution. For all of you decrying the government and a wrongly perceived interference by said government into the way school’s are run, get out their and teach your children how to love each other (and those of you who are Christians should know what I mean), and that they need to respect themselves and those who are trained to educate them. Bullying should not be accepted on any level and those of you who say that we are raising a generation of pansies or who say everyone is bullied, must be unaware of the children who are killing themselves after being bullied at school or on the Internet, or even those who are burned over 65% of their bodies because of bullies. Many of these incidents start on school campuses and if the schools were to turn a blind eye to these incidents the attempted argument in this post would be “why aren’t schools doing more?”

  8. Good post Jim,

    The article you linked to mentioned that the school has a “zero tolerance” policy on bullying. It has been my experience that these types of policies usually degenerate into “zero common sense”.

    How many parents will ride this one out, while the “professionals” handle it for them?

    Our children are being raised to think that big government will always intervene in their lives, and that it is normal for them to expect it.

    Do the kids still get their “free lunch” while they are being suspended?

  9. AvatarLibby says:

    I agree with the three of you. The school has no business inserting itself and trying to manage it’s student’s activities outside the realm of it’s authority. My guess is it took this extreme position because in today’s litigious environment it was afraid it would be sued by one or more of the student’s parents for not putting a stop to the bullying. In today’s world the “It Takes a Village” thinking has become very popular because it helps to absolve parents from a lot of their primary responsibility. Sadly.

  10. AvatarTVNews says:

    There is nothing to explain. Unless the school can document beyond question through time stamps that the activity took place on school grounds, the school has no place dealing with it.

    Were my child one of the 28, I would get the facts and punish accordingly. However, I would at the same time be hiring a lawyer to punish the school in the most harsh terms possible for over stepping their bounds.

    What happens off school grounds or outside of school sponsored field trips is off limits to school discipline.

  11. AvatarEagleWatch says:

    Can someone please expalin to me how a Facebook page that says “Join the I hate So-and-so Page” constitutes bullying?

    My God we’re raising a nations of pansies!