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CONFRONTING CYBER-BULLYING use none none implementation toprint none on none VS 2010 it dif cult for many bullied students to identify closely with their teachers and vice-versa. PARENT VERSUS TEEN CYBER-BULLYING Recently, a none for none highly disturbing and controversial case has drawn signi cant attention from media and the justice system in the United States. The case involves a forty-seven-year-old Missouri woman, Lori Drew, who took on the identity of a sixteen-year-old boy named Josh to lure her daughter s thirteen-year-old friend Megan into an online relationship. Posing as Josh, Mrs.

Drew s messages, initially friendly, suddenly turned nasty on October 15, 2006, culminating in a statement that read The world would be a better place without you (Maag, C., 2007, http://www.nytimes.

com/2007/11/28/us/28hoax.html, accessed January 13, 2008). Megan Meier had trusted in Josh as her online boyfriend.

Devastated, she took this message literally and committed suicide. While the teen was already on anti-depressants, this email is assumed to have pushed her over the edge. Her mother discovered her in a closet, hanging from a belt (ibid.

) Controversy has arisen over the fact that local and federal authorities in Missouri investigated the case but did not press charges against Mrs. Drew because her online behaviour might ve been rude, it might ve been immature, but it wasn t illegal (ibid.).

However, the U.S. Attorney s of ce in Los Angeles is reported to be looking into the case with a view to charge Mrs.

Drew with federal wire fraud, as well as cyber fraud against MySpace, as its head of ce New Corp., is based in Beverly Hills, California. Although the possibility for successful prosecution of MySpace is minimal because of established legal precedents that categorize ISP providers as distributors and not publishers, absolving them of the obligation to monitor discourses on their networking sites (see discussion of cyber libel in 3), this case is worth watching for its own precedent-setting value if Mrs.

Drew is successfully prosecuted for wire fraud. Regardless of the legal issues it raises, it supports my argument from an ethical perspective, that adults are sometimes the worst abusers of cyberspace. Similarly, it is often adults that frame reality to t their own agendas, most often at children s expense.

School Of cials, School Reputations, and the Of cial Story Many schools continue to rely on the traditional authoritarian approaches toward school and student management that have been around for decades, since the time when schools were much more ethnically homogeneous. Unfortunately, those models are less effective in a pluralistic school population, especially when new technologies and cyber-bullying are involved. As we have seen, the Internet has created new dilemmas for educators, and many of them state they are unprepared for and quite uncertain how to handle these issues; yet they are very vocal when the bullying is directed at them.

. CENSORING CYBERSPACE: CAN KIDS BE CONTROLLED Moreover, re none for none ports from Britain, the United States, and many other parts of the world suggest that educators policy and practice responses continue to be reactive and more heavily focused on control of behavior than on prevention through education options. Some of those responses are featured later in this chapter. First, however, consider these comments in 2006 by a school standards government of cial, as reported in the Guardian:.

A culture of disrespect and failure to take responsibility will not be tolerated. . .

. It s easy to lose sight of the fact that pupil behaviour in the majority of schools is good for most of the time. .

. . But it takes only a handful of poorly behaved pupils to make life dif cult for teachers and disrupt the education of other pupils.

(Press Association, 2006). When we cons none none ider the legal responsibility of schools to ensure that they do not create a deliberately dangerous or poisoned environment, as discussed in 5, this school of cial s comments illustrate that although he attempts to meet his obligations to foster a culture of respect, the means that he suggests (suspensions) are in and of themselves largely intolerant. What school of cials do not realize when they implement zero-tolerance approaches is that they might be modeling the very forms of intolerance that students are protesting online. As with the case of A.

B. (A. B.

v. State of Indiana, 2007) in 4, quite often students are protesting autocratic approaches that already create a negative school culture. Another factor that often plagues school administrators are poor relationships between administration and their staff, and among the staff members themselves.

This makes for a potent recipe. For example, the administrators at one school that experienced antiauthority forms of student expression explained that they were frightened of returning to school after the summer because the teachers were seeking blood. The teachers anger toward some of the students was surprising given that even the administration admitted most student comments were innocuous and close to the truth.

There appeared to be few libelous comments with one or two exceptions. In attempting to understand the rage of the teachers who demanded that at least four of the students be removed from the school, I asked the school administrators about the culture at the school.7 Our conversation disclosed that the school had a history of fractured political relationships.

The school was taken over by several school boards throughout its history and had experienced changes with many new administrators who came and left, while many of the staff remained at the school. Because of its prestigious academic reputation, the school is popular with teachers and parents. The teachers and student body are largely homogeneous (mainly from European backgrounds) with few students from other ethnic groups.

Many of the teachers are set in their ways, endorsing a disciplinary and didactic approach rather than the more interactive and open approach advocated by the Quebec Ministry s educational reform package. Relationships between the teachers themselves within departments have not.
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