Update: Karen Washington, a social studies teacher at Watertown High School in Massachusetts, used this story as the foundation for a classroom discussion. Here's what her students had to say.
In recent years, we’ve talked a lot about bullying in general and cyber-bullying in particular. And it’s come up over and over again: What’s the best way to prevent it and punish those involved in it?
A case in Griffith, Indiana brings even more questions to the table. The case involves two teenagers who had a lengthy exchange on their Facebook pages. They listed eight students and one teacher from their school that they’d like to kill. The exchange did not take place on the grounds of Griffith Middle School nor did it involve any of the school’s computer equipment. Nonetheless, the school expelled the two girls involved in the exchange. The girls, in turn, have sued the school for infringing on their free speech rights.
Among the biggest questions springing from this case are: Should students be punished for their cyber-activities off campus? It’s something that Wendy Kaminer has been mulling over. Kaminer is a lawyer, social critic, and contributing editor at The Atlantic. She’s also the author of seven books, including “Worst Instincts: Cowardice, Conformity, and the ACLU.” Regina Webb is the person who first got the Griffith Middle School involved in this case. Regina’s older daughter is one of the people whose name was listed as a potential mark in the Facebook exchange.