online harassment

Discussion in 'General Education' started by newexperiences, Nov 26, 2009.

  1. newexperiences

    newexperiences Rookie

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    Nov 26, 2009

    I have a student in 8th grade who found my account on facebook. He can send me messages, but I haven't friended him so he can't read my profile or anything. I had just called his parents yesterday to inform them about the fact that he distrubed the lesson. Afterwards he wrote me an aggressive angry message telling me not to call his parents, calling me stupid, and that I should leave him alone, etc.

    How would you react to something like this?
     
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  3. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    Print. Give to VP, headmaster, or whoever does discipline.

    If your school is worth anything, there should be plenty of ways to make the boy wish he never sent that message.

    Or you can ignore it, greet him pleasantly the next time you see him, and he'll wonder if you even got it.
     
  4. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    I'm not that familiar with facebook. Can you block messages from him? And I like the idea of pretending you didn't get the message.
     
  5. futureteach21

    futureteach21 Habitué

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    You can block people on FB. I have had to do it for a person who wouldnt leave me alone and now that person can't even see that I have an account or contact me in anyway. I would block him, then print it out and show to your supervisor.
     
  6. GoldenPoppy

    GoldenPoppy Habitué

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    Print it out and show it to your principal and send a copy to his parents. I would also make sure that the boy knows that everyone is getting a copy.
     
  7. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    You can block him specifically, and you can also make your setting so that nobody except your friends can send you messages, too.

    I would also print out the message and take it to the principal. His parents would be notified as a result.
     
  8. newbie87

    newbie87 Comrade

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    I wouldn't print it out. I don't consider one email harassment, though... I also don't consider him calling you stupid anything that really needs to be brought to the principal's attention. You also have to worry, about what's on your facebook if you do such a thing. Even if it's private, your school can find ways of seeing the material. So, I would block him and ignore it. Save the email for just in case. IMO, the people who are like run it to the princpal I think are jumping the gun and not really thinking about what may be best for you.
     
  9. runsw/scissors

    runsw/scissors Phenom

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    I think I'd print a copy (make sure it's dated) and save it. I would speak with the student in question privately and tell him I did not appreciate the message he sent, remind him why I contacted his parents in the first place, and then tell him I have made 3 copies of the message sent. I will keep them to myself unless this ever happens again. If there is a repeat performance, I will make three copies of THAT message as well. One of each will be sent to his parents with a letter from me documenting the events prior to each, one of each will be sent to the principal with a letter from me documenting the events prior to each, and the others will go in my documentation file.
     
  10. ku_alum

    ku_alum Aficionado

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    Do you think this student would call you stupid in front of his parents/your boss? I think there is a lesson here in privacy and online media. I wouldn't let that pass by. Many students don't "get" how wrong things can go by something they've posted online, they've grown up in the environment and don't believe in the hazards that we adults preach. By showing this student that there are consequences for some online postings, he will learn a valuable lesson that may someday save his job, his relationship, etc.
     
  11. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    I agree.

    This is, at the very least, a "teachable moment" about the consequences of posting stuff online, and it would be a crime to let it pass unnoticed.
     
  12. newbie87

    newbie87 Comrade

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    I do have to say, though, this gives mixed messages. It's saying you have a right to privacy and do things online, while the student doesn't. If you were out somewhere and saw said student and they called you stupid, would you tell the principal? I highly doubt anyone would be calling it harassment, imo it's not, if it happened face to face. I really don't see any lesson learned in the first step being taking the email to the principal. I actually think it looks anyone who does such a thing doesn't know how to handle their students...
     
  13. jday129

    jday129 Comrade

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    Students have the right to privacy but not be a cyber bully which is what this is. Maybe by sending a copy of the message to the parents they will keep better tabs on their child's online activities and prevent someone from getting mean messages from this student.
     
  14. newbie87

    newbie87 Comrade

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    Are you people serious? No offense, but I don't see how calling someone stupid in one email in bullying or harassment. I think everyone is just just gunhoe because there's proof of a student's wrong doing. Where as if he called the OP stupid in person there would be no proof. I often have to wonder if teachers with a lot of experience, as seems to be the case with all those head to the principal ASAP! seem to be, seem to really want to help their students or just get them in trouble. I think telling the parents is good, but really... This is bullying? I think a few people, including the OP, are taking this just a little to seriously.
     
  15. Jem

    Jem Aficionado

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    If this child is willing to call a TEACHER names online, then imagine what they are writing to other students they don't care for.

    This message may be an isolated incident simply because the child hasn't had time to write another one to the teacher, but if their account was searched, I wonder what would show up as messages to other kids... I think that's how cyber-bullying starts: with one message.
     
  16. Maryhf

    Maryhf Connoisseur

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    Since you deal with preschoolers, you deal with a whole different set of respect issues. The stakes are different - if your student disagrees, they may throw a tantrum. The tantrum that a teen throws is at a whole differnt level! And it can't be ignored by a competent teacher. You can't be too careful.
     
  17. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    He responded online to a school matter. That makes it a school issue. The means of communication he chose has no bearing on the actual words he chose to use.

    He referred to his teacher as "stupid." That makes it a disciplinary action.

    Personally, I would take it to the dean, or to whomever it is that handles day-to-day discipline. I wouldn't go to our principal over anything short of a bomb threat.

    As a parent, I would most certainly want to know, particularlly with a middle school aged child. It's still possible to nip this in the bud, and to let him know about the consequences of his actions.

    Is it bullying? I don't think so-- I tend to think of bullys as people who have, or are perceived to have, some sort of power. Is it harrassment? Probably not in my opinion. It's one isolated instance of bad judgement.

    Would my son regret it for some time to come?? OOOHHHH YES!!!
     
  18. newbie87

    newbie87 Comrade

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    I think I agree with most everything you wrote. The parents should know, but I think at this point taking it to the principal is just a bit much. What if it one inccident of bad judgement? I just think people taking it a little too far because it is online. In the end, the OP can do whatever the wish but I think there are better ways to handle it than others have sugggested. I also think, the way you handle it, and the contains of your facebook, could have bearings on what other teachers/the prinicpal/ect. think of you and your teaching skills.
     
  19. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    You THINK you agree?

    I doubt this is one incident of bad judgement...it's quite bold and daring to call a teacher out online or in person. At least with it being online this will not be a case of 'he said, she said'...there is no disputing what is sent online. Taking it to the principal is absolutely the right thing to do. This child is acting out, has anger issues that need to be dealt with, and as Alice suggested, the student's message has school repercussions.
     
  20. newbie87

    newbie87 Comrade

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    Well, you must have some type of special powers if you know what your students, lets alone other people's students, are doing online and in their free time. Just because you say one email is cyber bullying harassing it is. :rolleyes: You also must have great management skills if every issue that arises you send to the principal. :unsure:
     
  21. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    newbie- read my post carefully. I don't send EVERY issue to my principal. I do, however, think issues of disrespect and cyber/technology disrespect are subjects of which administration should be aware. I don't have 'special powers' (although I do have good management skills). The OP has definite black and white proof that her/his student acted in an untoward manner.

    Newbie, you teach PreK, as have I. You probably have limited experience with such issues, but technology-based behaviors are something with which teachers must be prepared to deal.
    I'm not sure from where your hostile response comes. Consider that other teachers have to deal with issues with which you may not have experience. The advice given here from seasoned classroom teachers is good advice based on their experiences. The OP has the choice of whether to take the advice or not. You do not have to agree with the advice given, but do understand that the advice given was solicited by the OP and is given with the best of intentions.
     
  22. mrachelle87

    mrachelle87 Fanatic

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    As a former teacher of 8th graders, I can relate to the poster. I was harrassed by phone calls one year by a student. The first couple I ignored. I really couldn't prove who was calling. I lived out of district and the phone company wouldn't tell me without a court order (before caller id). It wasn't until the parents got a phone bill with several calls to my home that it all came to light. I got in trouble for not reporting it to the principal when it first started. I wasn't sure it was one of my students or my husband's, so I didn't report it. The parents were upset that I didn't contact them, I explained that he never did anything but heavy breathing and cussing at me and I couldn't recognize his voice. The principal supported me in public, but behind close doors I got a chewing. What I didn't know was that this was not the first time the boy had been accused of doing this to teachers. I would have saved everyone a headache if I had just stepped into the office and said, "By the way, I got a nasty phone call last night." While nothing would have probably been done, my principal---we don't have a dean, or vp--would have been in the loop. Just my two cents.
     
  23. futureteach21

    futureteach21 Habitué

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    I think it's always better to be safe than sorry. If the OP alerts a supervisor now, the more likely she will be to have the super's support if it is to happen again. It's better to be over cautious then to leave it alone.
     
  24. cmorris

    cmorris Comrade

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    My principal would have looked at me like my head was on backwards! :dizzy:
     
  25. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    I think part of the disagreement here comes not from the idea of reporting it, but just to whom to report it.

    My school has 2550 kids. We go grades 6-12. The 6, 7 and 8th graders have a dean of girls, a dean of boys, and their own Assistant Principal. The high school likewise has a dean of girls, a dean of boys. There's an AP for academics, one for activities, one for admissions. And there's a principal. And a president.

    In my building, it would start with the dean. I would stop by his office during the day and talk it out. Then I would drop the matter, leaving it up to him to handle.

    In my kids' elementary school, there are 300 kids, classroom teachers and a principal. Anything that isn't handled in a normal classroom-- such as the matter under discussion-- would go straight to the principal.

    I think we agree more than we realize, but our differing experiences are pointing the "reporting" in different directions.
     
  26. Mrs N

    Mrs N Rookie

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    On Facebook you can hide yourself so no one can search for you. I have my privacy settings so high that my husband couldn't even find my name- I had to "friend" him. Set everything on your privacy settings to "Only Friends" and block the student just to be sure.
    As for what to do- I'd go to my principal or admin. to show them and ask for advice. I know principals are different but mine would help me in a heartbeat.
     
  27. shouldbeasleep

    shouldbeasleep Enthusiast

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    Report it, keep a copy, ask a colleague to listen in while you explain to the boy that he is being disrespectful and that if it continues, there will be consequences, then drop it unless it happens again.

    Newbie: This is a forum for professional teachers. Unless you can offer suggestions or disagree in less rude manner, you should move along to a forum that specializes in teenagers who work in the education field.
     
  28. Maryhf

    Maryhf Connoisseur

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    :yeahthat:
     
  29. miss tree

    miss tree Rookie

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    I agree with most of the posters here - I would definitely report this. It's not a trivial issue and this kids needs to understand that he can't treat teachers in a rude or aggressive manner, in person or online. If you let it slide it also sets a precedent. If you deal with it promptly other kids will also become aware that cyber rudeness is highly inappropriate.
     
  30. newbie87

    newbie87 Comrade

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    You're right. Despite not being a parent, I think if I had a child I would be extremly annoyed with a teacher if something like this happened one time and they decided not to speak to me and go straight to the principal. Maybe it's because with the age I've worked with, we really try to work it out with the parents first unless they show no interest. I also think if the parent wants to be invovled, and someone just goes to the principal without trying to talk to them, it can start a negative relationship and there's still a lot more time in the school year.
     
  31. newbie87

    newbie87 Comrade

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    I like how I was deemed rude when the person I replied to was very rude in their tone and pointed out every spelling mistake I made. What do spelling errors have to do with the topic at hand? I assume this isn't rude becuse they're a professional teacher, though. If you don't care to read my posts, you can ignore them, like I will your's from now on.
     
  32. scmom

    scmom Enthusiast

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    I was wondering if the kids at your school sign a technology use agreement? Ours do and I think it covers stuff like this. It is probably a good time to review policy with all your students to prevent future problems. If your school doesn't have one - I recommend they get one. The kids and parents have to sign them in our local districts - elementary through high school so proper use is no surprise for families.
     
  33. Hoot Owl

    Hoot Owl Aficionado

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    I'd make three copies of the letter, giving one to my Principal, one to the parents, and one for my file.

    This is an opportunity to teach this child that he's responsible for his behavior. Nipping this in the bud might save him some heart-ache in the future
     
  34. tgim

    tgim Habitué

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    As a parent, I would definitely want to know. As a teacher, I try to start w/ the parents and child and work up if necessary.

    For those who are questioning whether this is bullying or just a one-time lapse in judgement - you won't really know without consulting the parents/child to see if this fits a pattern of behavior - I would want to know as this child's parent.

    Also, given recent cyber bullying episodes and the resulting consequences for the receiver of such messages, I don't think you can be too careful. Talk to parents and child, give copy to administration (dean or P or AP), keep a copy, and let them know that your expectation is that communication of this sort will NOT be repeated.
     
  35. Mom-Ed.S.

    Mom-Ed.S. Rookie

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    Hello Newexperiences,
    It is unfortunate that this child chose to lash out at you via technology. However, this happened off school grounds and was not a personal threat (an expellable offense in some states) which means your school cannot legally discipline him. There are many legal questions revolving around cyber bullying right now, and technically the schools cannot discipline for this, although many schools have their liaison or safety officer talk to the bully. What most administrators recommend is that if the concern is great enough, the victims need to contact the civil authorities (aka the police.) :) Having said that, I do suggest that you have an educational and a moral obligation to tell both the child's parents and the appropriate administrator in your building. My message would to them would be - FYI, this child is behaving badly and I think as the adults in his life we have an obligation to confront him about his poor behavior. Parents - do you want to do this on your own or do you want to have a parent/school meeting intervention style w/ principal, teacher, parents and child? Do have an administrator sit in on this meeting with you if you go this route, but by including everyone you show that you can handle the situation without "running to the principal." You and your principal should lead the meeting jointly and make it known to everyone that your number one concern is for the child. Your second concern is that this is never to happen again. It is rude and is not up the expectations of behavior I'm sure each of the adults here have for this child. If the parents jump to the child's defense, be clear that the school is not disciplining. However, as we teach academics - we must also teach behavior. Best Wishes.
     
  36. Canadian Gal

    Canadian Gal Habitué

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    Actually Mom-Ed.S. the school CAN discipline him. It happens frequently. University students in Canada were expelled for sharing test questions online (off University property on facebook) students have been suspended for spreading rumours about teachers online, and students who threaten others via. MSN have been punished at school for their behaviour. Children who email pornography to their teachers (supposedly anonymously through hotmail) have lost their computer privileges at school.

    The child threatened a teacher. As a result it is a school matter, and as far as I'm concerned the child should be dealt with by the school as well as by parents.
     
  37. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Did he threaten her or just insult her? As I read it, he called her stupid and told her to get off his back-- with no threat implied.

    I think he's a brat and should get in trouble, but I don't think I would get the police involved! I think someone at school-- again, in my school that would be the dean-- should be informed. He should, of course, remove the posting, write a letter of apology, and serve a detention or two, along with some demerits if that's applicable. And of course his parents should be notified.

    But, as I read it, he posted legally on a public forum. There was no threat stated or implied. So I'm not sure we should take out and string him up!
     
  38. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    At the very least, a consultation with the principal may be in order to decide what action, if any, should be taken. Even if the only action decided is to take down the teacher's Facebook page (a duplicate replacement can be put up later), it may be best to make administration aware in case this becomes a problem for other teachers and students.
     
  39. Canadian Gal

    Canadian Gal Habitué

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    I don't think he should be strung up - expulsion/suspension are not warranted in this case as far as I can tell, but something does need to be done, and I think its up to the school to do it. The fact is, his parents may not even be aware of his online activities, and so they need to be informed and the school needs to be aware. Harassment is harassment, and should never be tolerated.
     

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