I Hate Mrs. ** on Facebook am I overreacting?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by jojo808, Apr 18, 2010.

  1. jojo808

    jojo808 Comrade

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    Apr 18, 2010

    I heard there was a facebook page "I Hate Mrs. Blank" about a teacher I work with. I checked FB and there it was. Most of it was tame (she's the meanest teacher!), but there were a few that were disturbing "She's lucky I didn't shove her face in the toilet."

    I copied and forwarded the pages to the principal. I was shocked to learn that the VP and Counselor knew about it two months ago.

    The counselor's response was "we contacted facebook to take it down. The student who started it removed herself as admin so there is no way she can delete the page." I told him they could ask the students who posted to delete their posts. Or ask the 45 members to leave the group. He said they contacted FB and that is all they could do.

    So, I feel they should do more (ask students to remove posts, leave group) but the VP and counselor don't think it is a big deal. In addition to the example above, there are two more that I feel cross the line. The teacher the page is about doesn't know about it. I want to talk to the P again and ask them why they aren't being more aggressive.

    I need perspective. Am I overreacting? Thanks.
     
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  3. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Not overreacting at all. We had a similar situation a few years ago and it was dealt with very harshly by administration. Parents were involved from the beginning and were very supportive of all decisions that were made. I don't know all of the details, but the offending page(s) were removed and suspensions were handed out.
     
  4. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    I think that schools have a moral obligation to show kids the consequences of their actions, while they're still minors and the penalties are relatively minor.

    Facebook has no vested interest in teaching kids. That's the job of the parents and the school, and both should pursue this.
     
  5. JaimeMarie

    JaimeMarie Moderator

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    There are a ton of I hate Mrs. pages on facebook. How horrible.
     
  6. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    One thing I forgot (coffee is still brewing), we did have one parent tell us that because it happened outside of school, the school could not get involved. We were told by a community police officer (who happened to be in the school to do a presentation to a grade 5 class) that the kids made it a school issue by naming teachers.
     
  7. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    One would think that the parent, instead of being concerned wtih the legal issue, would look at the large issue: is this the kind of child she wants to raise??
     
  8. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    She did get to that, fairly quickly, when she took some time to read all that was posted.
     
  9. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Good.

    I'm all for free speech, and for the ability to vent.. I see nothing wrong with "rate my teacher" kind of stuff.

    But kids should know the difference between expressing an opinion and cruelty, and know that libel is against the law. Cyber bullying starts with the idea that I can post whatever I want and I'm immune from consequences.
     
  10. MsMar

    MsMar Fanatic

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    Wow, as far as I'm concerned it's cyber bullying and the admin should be doing more. There should be consequences for the students making the inappropriate comments.
     
  11. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    I don't even know where to go on this one. Wow! The administration should be doing a lot more. The schools could educate kids about libel and slander laws then assign all the students involved to do a research paper on cyber bullying. I would also expect the main offender to host a workshop teaching others about cyber bullying.

    I would also be talking to every parent and explaining that it constitutes both as cyber bullying and as slander and ask the parents to oversee the removal of the posts. Then I would have a computer already available for this purpose. (This is especially if you know the offense is procecutable. I'm not sure it is.)
     
  12. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    We have a community police officer come in every year to talk to our grade 4-8 students about Internet safety and cyber-bullying. It's always an eye-opener for them when he talks about the very real possibility of all computers in a home being confiscated during a cyber-bullying investigation. The kids never seem to recognize it as bullying, but I would say that there isn't a month that goes by when I'm not talking about kids with this on some level.
     
  13. Elm512

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    They should definitely be doing more.. what kind of example is that setting?? Those students should be punished. On another note, my heart breaks for that teacher! Geez, I'm naturally a very emotional person, but my feelings would be soo hurt if that were written about me.
     
  14. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

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    I think one bad thing about technology is the laws and policies are slow to catch up with all the new facets. I just finished an online PD about 21st Century Learning and a big part of that was about ethics and things like cyberbullying-it was really eye-opening for me. It's a shame schools don't take it more seriously.

    What would be done if a child said those things in class? They would just be asked to take it back or would there be a consequence. Just because it's on a more anonymous forum doesn't make it any less disrespectful. Sure everyone's entitled to their opinion, but to make threats...that would be frightening to me if I was that teacher.
     
  15. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    The teacher doesn't know about it. I have mixed feelings about that as it is.
     
  16. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    The more cruel posts on that page could be considered as "communicating threats", which the school most certainly CAN do something about. Since the community police officer has indicated the school can pursue the issue as well, I think they should.

    They should contact the parents of each kid who has posted there and explain there is a meeting scheduled with the local police to discuss exactly what consequences these students (and their families) can face regarding the posts made there.

    Since the mom already stated her view that the school can't do anything, that could be considered encouraging these threats and she might face charges as an accessory. They should also know that, at the very least, this is cyber-bullying and the police can very easily - and LEGALLY - confiscate every computer in the house of the offending posters.

    I originally thought about admin setting up meetings individually with the kids and parents to discuss the issue, but since there are so many involved, I think it would better to have one big meeting with the police present as well so they can tell everyone at the same time "Oh yes we CAN do something about it."
     
  17. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    Apr 18, 2010

    :thumb:
     
  18. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    As much as this bothers me to the core and as much as I think this speaks volumes of our society, I would imagine that most of these sorts of pages are legally acceptable. The "I hate Mrs. Long" comments and "She's so mean!" and "Her class sucks!" and "I wish I had Mr. Grant because Mrs. Long is a freakin' witch!"...those are allowed under Free Speech.

    Google this topic and you will find a number of sites addressing the issue. Here are few cases: 1) A student created a Facebook page called “Ms. Sarah Phelps is the worst teacher I’ve ever met!,” and it was ruled by federal court as free speech because it was published off-campus, did not cause any disruption on-campus, and was not lewd, vulgar, threatening, or advocating illegal or dangerous behavior. 2) A court ruled in favor of a high school student who created a fake profile of his principal and claimed the administrator took drugs and kept alcohol in his office. The same court ruled against another high school student who claimed that her principal was a sex addict and pedophile. While, yes, if a rumor had to spread about me it would be that I was addicted to drugs rather than that I was a pedophile, that should not matter in the eyes of the law. The reason the latter was ruled unacceptable was because it was a school disruption while the former wasn't...and how exactly do you determine that?

    This sort of thing is happening everywhere. There is also an issue with the nasty Topix website which as far as I can tell is almost completely trash. It is anonymous. Here are the sort of threads I've noted from my zip code...and I'm going to even spell things correctly although the likelihood that was the case on Topix is low: "Who is the biggest whore at JMS?", "Jessica Rembley is a slut!", "So, let's talk about Mr. Long...", "Screw School"...which goes on to allow members of the community who actually know very little about what is happening in the classroom to speak as though they do. It's all very...disheartening.

    Anyhow, obviously some threads on Topix and some pages on Facebook are clearly slanderous. But some are just expressing opinions...and sometimes those opinions are hateful, but opinions still.

    Here's my deal: If teachers are going to be held accountable for dealing with cyberbullying that takes place off campus--and they are!--then the schools should have the obligation to protect its teachers as well. The lawmakers really need to focus on this issue get some lines drawn... It's only going to get worse from here.
     
  19. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    I'll bet if "Mrs. **" were to join the aforementioned Facebook group, and start posting, that it would disappear very quickly.
     
  20. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    I don't know what I'd do if I saw a Facebook page that said, "I hate Mr. ____" I'd probably want to curl up in a ball and cry! I guess middle school/high school teachers have thicker skin, though! I truly didn't know that these types of Facebook pages/groups existed.
     
  21. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    I find it hard to believe comments like "I wish I had slammed her head in the toilet" don't carry some possible legal ramifications. Same thing with the other pages on FB and Topix that are created specifically to spread false and destructive rumors about teachers and principals (or anyone else for that matter). Abusers of the 1st Amendment always forget the Freedom allowed cuts both ways. They may have the "right" to post such hateful and damaging comments, but the victim may also have the right to sue them for libel. The determination for libel is that the insult must be printed and the victim must be able to show the comment "harms" their reputation. I think that would be very easy for the principal accused of doing drugs and keeping alcohol in the office to do. Also, the community police officer has already indicated the school could possibly take action if they chose to.

    Even if the school doesn't pursue a legal remedy, they can still address the issue. Once again, the freedom of speech cuts both ways. The Dixie Chicks found this out when Natalie decided to make her comment about then-President Bush. The fans in Europe cheered her, but their core fans here in America gave them a very cold shoulder when they got back. A DJ on US101 (out of Chattanooga, TN) talked about the comment and said he wouldn't play any Dixie Chicks songs during his shift. A listener called in and said "We have Freedom of Speech and the DCs had a right to say what they did." The DJ replied "Yes, ma'am, they do have the right to make that comment. And I have the same right to say "I didn't like that comment and I'm not gonna play their music!"

    The school could let it be known that any public comments posted defaming or damaging the reputation of any staff member will result in consequences at the school. There are restrictions on the 1st Amendment and it's high time our society began to realize they can't say whatever they want wherever they want and expect immunity from any consequences.

    Besides, if schools and other businesses can't do anything about FB comments, why are they able to fire teachers or employees for things they post?
     
  22. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    My second year of teaching, one of the students in the all-girls school where I taught spray-painted "I hate Mrs. A..." on a park bench in town.

    Of all the girls who lived in that town, only one was failing, so I had my guesses.

    I called it a badge of honor :p


    This other stuff, of course is in a totally different league. When it progresses from "I hate..." which is one thing, to threats, then I think it's a different matter.

    And you're right, Cerek- everyone has a right to free speech. But those of us hearing that free speech have a right to react as we see fit-- not buy CDs, change our buying habits, or anything else legal.
     
  23. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    I think it would be funny to see how kids (and parents) reacted if teachers were able to turn the tables and create FB pages saying "Susie H. is a two-faced snit and cannot be trusted. Do NOT tell her any secrets unless you want them Twittered to the whole world" or "Johnny B. is a loud-mouthed butthead".

    Then, when the parents and kids go into cataclysmic spasms, just have the principal explain that the staff has decided to exercise their First Amendment Right to Free Speech too. :cool:

    Ok, ok....I would never seriously suggest any teacher do such a thing....but it IS fun to fantasize about sometimes. :D
     
  24. Muttling

    Muttling Devotee

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    I posted on one my student's Facebook wall asking how she thinks she's going to pass when she's missed over half my classes in December.


    She e-mailed me saying, "Gee thanks, now everybody knows." My response, "With all due respect ma'am, they long ago noticed that your weren't in class."


    Not sure what I'm going to do with this one, she's pretty much resided herself to try to cheat her way through the class.
     
  25. Sam Aye M

    Sam Aye M Mr. Know-It-All

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    I get the "I hate you Mr. XXXX" all the time with my jr/sr high school ED kids when they don't get their way. I usually respond with "yeah, I know, you tell me every day. You still have to do XXXX though."

    I think sometimes we just need to grow thicker skins and let things roll. I know I'm in the minority, but I'm actually laughing at the "she's lucky I didn't shove her face in the toilet" comment. I don't see it as a threat, as others do. If it had been my face that was lucky to not have been shoved in the toilet, I would be laughing. I've had kids threaten to "blast" me with their homeboys later, and I always tell them that I'll be at school from 8 to 3, so they know where to find me. Those same kids are at my desk later, working on a project with me which they needed help with, and I was more than happy to assist. I know not everyone can (or would want to) do this, but getting all upset over these thing, and letting them see how it affects you is probably just encouraging it. Do I ever correct them and tell them that what they are doing is wrong? Yes I do, later, when there is no audience, and they are in a calmer state of mind. But I don't do it accusing them of anything, or bringing in police, or any of that. Just calmly let them know that it is not okay, and that there is consequences for their actions, and then give them more appropriate ways to deal with their frustration, ways that won't get them in trouble. Does this all work? Sometimes. And sometimes it takes a while to work.
     
  26. monsieurteacher

    monsieurteacher Aficionado

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    "She's lucky I didn't smash her head in the toilet" is not a threat. "Someday I'm going to smash her head in the toilet" is a threat. Personally, I think giving it too much publicity (asking people to leave the group) is playing into it.

    The thing with Facebook groups is they die off pretty quickly. I don't see any legal problems here, though I would like to hear what 3sons has to say about it.
     
  27. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    I agree, Sam, and - despite my posts so far - usually DO let most comments from middle/high schoolers roll off my back. I wasn't upset so much at the "face in the toilet" comment as I was the mom saying "You can't do anything about this". It sounds like the mom not only condones the behavior, but may actually encourage it and I cannot abide parents teaching their kids it's acceptable to post hateful comments just because "nobody can do anything about it".

    Sooner or later, they will find out someone CAN do something about it and will be in for a very rude awakening when it happens.
     
  28. Muttling

    Muttling Devotee

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    Neither of those statements are a threat if you want to be technical. A threat is a statement made directly to another individual with the intent of intimidating that individual.

    The student who says I wil smash her head into the toilet on Facebook, but doesn't know that the message will get back to the teacher isn't threatening the teacher. He's just stating his intent.



    Thus, it's all o'k....right????




    Big time talk of how bad I'm gonna be is a precursor to violence. The more the teen is aloud to spew about what he's going to do, the more he backs himself or herself into a corner where they are forced to do it to save face.

    Teens are far more concerned with how their peers see them than they are how adults see them or their grades. Failure to severely address such comments quickly leads to a greater likelyhood of them acting out on them IMO.


    I have had kids tell me they have a gun in their locker, say "I know where you live", say "you need to watch your back", and more. I have treated each event as if it were a totally honest statement and it is very rare for me to get them while a few teachers I know let it go then complain about it happening over and over again. I am more concerned with what happens when a kid acts upon that statement than the aggrevation it causes the teacher.

    Statements like these are NOT o'k.
     
  29. jojo808

    jojo808 Comrade

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    Thanks for the responses. I don't want to make too big a deal about it just make enough of a deal about it.
     
  30. Grover

    Grover Cohort

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    I think this is a big deal on many levels. It should not be tolerated, it should be confronted, and there should be consequences for it. At the same time, the fact that JaimeMarie can tell us that there are 'a ton' of these pages on facebook tells us that there is another kind of 'big deal' here. When a problem occurs once, we may focus entirely on the perpetrator, but if a problem is widespread, it behooves us to examine why this might be so.
     
  31. newbie87

    newbie87 Comrade

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    This online "harassment/bullying" things always make me go cross eyed. Especially things like this. I'm sure Mrs. whoever has been told she's hated to her face, or maybe overheard someone. Can you imagine the situation in real life? Student: Mrs. A, I hate you you. Mrs. A runs to the police office and says student told her they hated her. :unsure: I think people put much more "merit" into things that are online. See, this is a prime example of when I said people on here seem to enjoy punishing more than they should and want punishments that are extreme. No one has asked does she deserve nasty comments. Honestly, I feel nothing they've done is illegal. They never threatened her or slandered her. They said they dislike her and would be joyus if harm fell on her, something others have done here about students. :unsure: I think lines of conflict remain when teachers can not speak to students. They must run to parents first. You exspect your students to know the LAW (which some lawyers don't understand), but you can't even approach them like adults. I'm sorry, but this is being a hypocrite if you believe in this method.

    Yes, OP you, and many others are overreacting.
     
  32. Muttling

    Muttling Devotee

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    However Newbie87, the student didn't say "I hate you." That is not an issue.

    The student said, "She is lucky I didn't push her face into a toilet."


    So how do you think it should be dealt with if a student comes up to you and says, "You're lucky that I haven't pushed your face into a toilet?"



    And to put this in persepctive, you teach 3rd grade where I presume you don't have any kids who benchpress more than you weigh. I weigh 205 and most of my male students bench press more than I weigh. I have one (a very delightful student) who benches 345.
     
  33. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    I think that kids need to be taught that there's a time and a place for everything.

    Bravado in front of friends? Part of growing up. OK.

    Posted for all the world to see? Not quite so OK.

    It wouldn't be OK said to my face, so it's not OK on Facebook or elsewhere.

    Do I think the teacher should get an order of protection? Of course not. This isn't about the teacher, it's about the kids learning that actions have consequences, and that it's wrong to be mean to people.

    Muttling-- I've taught kids who were easily double my weight.
     
  34. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    And that, for me, is the point.
     
  35. Grover

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    Really? I really don't get that.
     
  36. Sam Aye M

    Sam Aye M Mr. Know-It-All

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    I only weigh 180. Most of my male students are bigger and stronger then me. Maybe a few of the girls too. :)
     
  37. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    It's been shared with me by several people that you know you're doing your job as a teacher if your students dislike you. This is an especially popular theory for substitute teachers. I don't believe this to be true at all, and I don't think most teachers do either. I know that is not what Alice is saying, yet I feel the two thoughts--this and the Badge of Honor comment--are in the same vein.

    I want my students to like me, enjoy their time in my class. Not all students feel this way. In fact, especially this year, I have many students who are quite annoyed by the fact that I have certain behavioral and acadmic expectations. So while I wish they felt otherwise, I don't cry because of it. They are young, and I know this. If they made an Anti-Mrs.JustMe Facebook page it would sting, but I have enough confidence to know that I am not only not ruining the student's life, but working to enrich it.

    A student painting that she hated me on a bench wouldn't day be a day-killer, but I wouldn't take it as a badge of honor either.
     
  38. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    I have to respectfully disagree with you, Newbie!

    This truly is a big deal.

    That's all I have to say! :2cents:
     
  39. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Aliceacc prides herself on being tough but fair. This was like an emblem of her toughness. At least, this is what I'm guessing based on observation of her statements here. I'd crumble like an autumn leaf if I saw that, but that's because I tend to be a massive softie. :eek:
     
  40. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    It wasn't Beth so much as the fact that, as a brand new teacher, it showed that I wasn't a pushover.

    A 14 year old girl who is failing math is going to hate her teacher. Not every time, but often enough. At 14, the tendency is to blame others.

    So many people here post about not wanting to teach anyone over the age of ___. I remember that, as a 21 year old, brand new teacher, 14 and 15 year olds were intimidating. Managing enough of a teacher presence to be publically disliked somehow meant that I wasn't the quiet pushover that I was afraid to become.

    It's the same sort of badge of honor that the 2 dents in my car represent. Both were gotten while driving while distracted-- in tears over health issues. (And yes, I know now that I should never have started the car either time.) But both of those dents remind me that I have survived something truly horrible, and lived to tell the tail. And that I'm tougher than I ever imagined.

    Does that make any sense at all???
     
  41. Grover

    Grover Cohort

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    Yes, though now that it does makes sense I think I would have described it quite differently.
     

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