Cyberbullies now targeting teachers

crazy_teacherSocial networking sites indeed get one’s point across. Users post anything from thoughts, activities, sweet nothings and even rant on their walls. It is no wonder then that some users misuse social networking sites through defamation and character assassination. What makes matters more disturbing is the fact that threats and scare tactics are now being widely spread over social networking sites upon public figures who have little to no way of defending themselves. Cyber bullying becomes rampant, especially from users one would least expect cyber bullying to come from.

The ‘Attack A Teacher Day’

January 7, 2011 9am to 5am was the supposed date for the Attack A Teacher Day. The ‘event’ was created by a 12 to 13 year old girl from Carson City who sent out invites to 100 classmates asking them to participate. 18 students responded yes.

All who responded yes were contacted by the authorities. Six students were arrested two days before the said event. These school girls, all between ages 12 to 13 years old made threatening statements against 6 teachers belonging to 2 middle schools in Carson City. One posted the word ‘die’ _____, referring to a certain teacher and the rest posted that they would attack teachers on the day of the event. The girls claimed that it was a joke but nonetheless, police took matters seriously. They were released to the custody of their parents and were suspended for three to five days from school.

Ironically on the day of the arrest, a 17-year-old suspended student from Omaha Nebraska shot dead his assistant principal and wounded his principal. No untoward incident happened that Friday after police informed the students of the two middle schools and their parents of the arrest.

The post was reported by the parent of a student who received the invite. But what if the parents do the attacking?

When Parents Attack

Parents are said to be the ones to set examples to their children. They should be the first ones molding the younger generation into responsible adults. In this case, however parents are being ‘childish’ and are doing the attacking. Responsible adulthood seemed to have flown out the window.

The Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ALT) and the Teacher Support Network reported that in 2009, 15% of teachers have experienced cyber-bullying from parents who use Facebook to spew their criticisms and dissatisfaction with certain teachers. This number has been steadily increasing over the years, the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) states. NAHT receives hundreds of calls per week from teachers and heads reporting that they are being cyber-bullied by parents on Facebook. ‘Social networking sites are medium for the unreasonable and the unprincipled, and have a momentum out of all proportion to reality.’ NAHT general secretary Russell Hobby says. ‘Parents have a right to express their views and complaints should be heard. Schools can only benefit from constructive feedback.’

In response, NAHT updated its assistance for teachers suffering from cyber bullying. Tips on managing the privacy of personal accounts and a link to various online help lines are provided to teachers who contact NAHT because of cyber bullying.

In turn, Facebook also takes down accounts found to breach rules on online harassment.

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