Today’s technology affords the ability to tease, harass, and threaten an unlimited number of people with unprecedented speed and anonymity – and the results can be devastating for anyone on the receiving end. The increasingly epidemic issue of cyber-bullying has inspired a rash of teenage (and younger) tragedies nation-wide.
This morning, the front page of the New York Times tackled one of the root problems head-on: a lack of consistent and comprehensive legislation. In “Online Bullies Pull Schools Into the Fray,” Jan Hoffman writes:
Schools these days are confronted with complex questions on whether and how to deal with cyberbullying, an imprecise label for online activities ranging from barrages of teasing texts to sexually harassing group sites. . . . Affronted by cyberspace’s escalation of adolescent viciousness, many parents are looking to schools for justice, protection, even revenge. But many educators feel unprepared or unwilling to be prosecutors and judges.
So how should schools handle cyber-bullying? All finger pointing and blame-placing aside, where do the confines of their legal jurisdiction (and moral duty) begin and end?
In Confronting Cyber-Bullying: What Schools Need to Know to Control Misconduct and Avoid Legal Consequences, Dr. Shaheen Shariff evaluates the current policy vacuum regarding the extent of educators’ legal responsibilities to intervene when incidences take place outside of school hours and off school grounds – ultimately showing how zero-tolerance policies presently in place are ineffective. Originally published in 2009, little progress has been made on the passage of proper regulatory legislation. Here’s a teaser from this invaluable guide to navigating the new frontier of abusive cyber-use…
Stephen Norwood’s The Third Reich in the Ivory Tower was recently reviewed on Michigan NPR affiliate, WKAR’s Under the Radar. Listen here as book reviewer Lev Raphael and correspondent Melissa Ingells discuss Nazi Germany’s attempt to influence Americans by getting cozy with some of the most highly regarded universities in the country.