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I’ve been a teacher in the Worcester Public Schools for years, currently teaching at one of the city’s high schools. I contacted Turtleboy to ask him if I could write a guest blog about cyberbullying. As a teacher we live in fear of speaking publicly online for fear of retaliation. Luckily Turtleboy let me use his anonymous platform to speak freely. Bullying has been the big buzz word around public schools for the last few years. I think we can all agree that bullying is a bad thing and kids should be protected from dooshnozzle spawn of satan children. But what happens when students cyberbully teachers? It happens a lot more than you think, and typically the response from the administration is that you are shit out of luck. Because although teachers have to adhere to social media policies which blatantly violate their first amendment rights, students are pretty much free to defame and humiliate you in groups on Facebook, Twitter, or wherever else they meet up in virtual world.
Cyberbullying is “the use of information technology to repeatedly harm or harass other people in a deliberate manner. According to U.S. Legal Definitions, Cyber-bullying could be limited to posting rumors or gossips about a person in the internet bringing about hatred in other’s minds; or it may go to the extent of personally identifying victims and publishing materials severely defaming and humiliating them.”
I have two stories of cyberbullying by students against teachers to share. The first comes from Forest Grove Middle School. Multiple teachers have reported the ongoing cyberbullying by a group of students against several faculty members. Because these kids are obviously wicked smart they left their Facebook page open for the public so I was able to take pictures of what is being ignored by administration there. Apparently a repeat 8th grader has been posting pictures of teachers from the school yearbook and mocking them by putting them next to a picture of some sort of doppelganger. The comments are pretty telling:
Apparently at Forest Grove the administration doesn’t mind having a group of dooshnozzle students conspiring to publicly humiliate a teacher. I guess they’re cool with the fact that they’re so callously calling an African-American mana racial slur, who has dedicated his life to helping students learn science. Repeatedly. I guess they’re cool with the ringleaders declaration that “IMA start doing students” next.
He be “stoking the girls.” Am I really old if I don’t know what that means, or is that how these wonderful children think you spell “stalking?” These kids have “Needs Improvement” written all over them. But hey, I guess administration doesn’t see anything wrong with the fact that students are publicly claiming that a male teacher “stalks” underage girls. They must also see no problem with a student who publicly threatens to “slap the shit outa him.” Nothing illegal or defamatory about that!! Free speech right?
And just so these kids apparently were planning on printing these out and posting them all around school:
What little angels.
“Facts I hate that bitch.” Fact – the Forest Grove administration thinks it’s OK that you’re saying that about a teacher in a public forum.
“Fuck Mr. Carcia that fuck nigga was a snitch always lying and shit lol.”
She sounds like a lovely student to have in class. Good thing we’re doing everything we can to make sure students like her aren’t unfairly suspended by racist schools.
“Fuck mr.king that big ass nose bitchass niggah always got me suspended and shit ugly ass smelly breath always wearing the same suit every other day looking bitch.”
And just think, this student has somehow made it all the way to 8th grade!!
“This ugly fuck nigga lol.”
“Fuck that gay ass niggah too ha.”
Clearly these lovely students come to school every day with a desire to learn and a respect for their teachers. Just a reminder that cyberbullying includes, “publishing materials severely defaming and humiliating them.” I guess Forest Grove administration doesn’t think this is humiliating enough to qualify.
“I told this bitch off 8th grad year, fuck this bitch lol.”
Which 8th grade year was that darling? Your second or third try at this very difficult endeavor? Hopefully you weren’t suspended, because that would be racist and Clive McFarlane could write another article about how unfairly the school system treats you. Seriously though, I blame people like Clive more than anyone. Administrators are just empty suits who follow orders from above them. Melinda Boone and Clive wanna see a chart that shows suspension rates going down. If you don’t then you’re a bad school. If you keep little angels like this in school and allow them to blatantly disrespect teachers then you’re doing a good job and you get a cookie.
According to Melinda Boone’s message to the district about anti-bullying in Worcester, “We will not tolerate any unlawful or disruptive behavior, including any form of bullying, cyber-bullying or retaliation in the Worcester Public Schools buildings, on school grounds, or in school-related activities. We will investigate all reports and complaints of bullying, cyber-bullying, and retaliation and take immediate action to end bullying behavior and restore the target’s sense of safety.”
She forgot to throw in there, “Unless you’re a teacher, in which case you can go fuck yourself.”
The other story is from Southbridge. Imagine Worcester except without the good parts. That’s Southbridge.
Here’s what this teacher told us about her experience there:
I started teaching at the middle/high school in Southbridge this year and already I’ve experienced bullying from some of my middle school students. For example, a couple of my students found me on Instagram and posted inappropriate comments on a handful of photos including “go to the gym ur TOO FAT” and “FUCK YOU.” On a picture I had posted months earlier of an ice cream cone they had written “looks like a dirty dick”. When I reported the incident to the officer on duty at the school, he told me there was nothing they could do to follow up on it because “there was nothing threatening or sexual enough about the comments”.
In class I have been called a “she-man,” and been made fun of for my clothes and make-up. Furthermore, I work in a predominately bilingual environment, but I do not speak Spanish very well, especially the slang. So teachers are constantly being made fun of or insulted behind their back in a different language.
Well, isn’t that nice. Apparently kids in Southbridge are free to call their teacher fat directly to their virtual face, and it’s perfectly OK because they’re just kids. And then when these little McMuffins fail the MCAS this teacher will be the one who is blamed for it. After all, it’s her job to find a way to overcome the fact that her students were basically raised by animals.
I’m sorry, but when a kid does something like this there needs to be real, actual punishments, because teachers are basically a joke at this point. They have no authority. Kids can make fun of them and humiliate them in person and online. Administrators know about it and don’t do anything because they’re gutless cowards.
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