Carrie Schmelkin : Gossip from the Hallways
Carrie Schmelkin
Web Editor, TMC

February 2012

You are browsing the archive for February 2012.

'Bully' Message Shouldn't Go Unheard

February 29, 2012

“If a tree falls down in a forest but no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?”

Along those lines, if a poignant, provocative documentary is produced and shown in select theaters – albeit only to a select audience – does its message truly resonate? Some think not.

Currently, more than 138,000 individuals have joined a formerly bullied high schooler’s campaign on, which contends that the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) should change the rating of the new film “Bully” from “R” to “PG-13.” According to high school student Katy Butler, a film that is not allowed to be shown to anyone younger than 17 precludes two groups that need to see the film most – high school and middle school students.

Boy Dead after School Shooting: Did Bullying Play a Role?

February 27, 2012

In the midst of everyone shuffling back to work today – and for many kids who were on February vacation last week, back to school – sadness filled the air in Cleveland, Ohio, as word feverishly spread via panicked phone calls, text messages and tweets that a student – who had reportedly been bullied – made his way into school today and killed one student and wounded four others before being caught.

While the gunman’s name has not yet been released, reports indicate that the student targeted a group of his peers that were sitting at a cafeteria table. Over 1,000 students were screaming up and down the hallways, according to reports, as the day started with gunfire. The suspect, who has not yet been charged, turned himself in after being chased out of the school by two teachers.

Justice for Tyler Clementi?

February 22, 2012

Tyler Clementi’s tragic death in September of 2010 served not only as a reminder to us of how quickly our children can become the subject of ridicule and cruelty, but also how the rise of cyberbullying and the immediacy of the Internet have made the days of schoolyard bullying pale in comparison to the horror that bullying is now.

Today, almost a year and a half after the day that Tyler took his own life when he found that he was at the center of Internet cyberbullying – and after months in which anti-bullying nonprofits have surged, school assemblies have charged forward at full force, and school counselors have flooded the hallways –the trial of Dharun Ravi, the 19-year-old who allegedly taped Tyler having an intimate moment with another man and made that video go viral, is commencing.

In fact, reports say that by the end of today, a jury may soon be selected in the trial of Ravi, a former Rutgers student. Today, Judge Glenn Berman called 35 potential jurors into the courtroom and asked each a series of questions about how much they know about the case, whether they were biased and how familiar they were with Rutgers University.

A Teacher's Nude Facebook Pic Leak Exposes Internet Dangers

February 14, 2012

If you needed any more proof that perhaps it’s not a wonderful idea for students and teachers to be friends on Facebook, here it is; this week, a revered high school football coach and math and science teacher in the Oxford Hills School District in Maine resigned after a nude photo taken of himself that was originally intended for his girlfriend was accidentally shared on his public Facebook page.

While the picture was unintentionally made accessible to coach Paul Withee’s entire social network – and not just his Valentine – the faux pas was enough to make Withee bow his head and resign after the parent of one of his football players discovered the completely nude photo of Withee on his Facebook profile page.

Perhaps not unsurprisingly, Withee has refused to comment on the incident, but the Oxford Hills Superintendent assured school and community members that the photo was online for only 10 minutes before it was removed.

This 10-minute period, however, shed light on the very reason that community members are often concerned about teachers and students connecting via social media sites – because they can become privy to highly personal information.

Paperless Classes: Might Want to Rethink 'The Dog Ate my Homework' Excuse

February 9, 2012

So I have a question for you students out there: Is it no longer acceptable to show up for class with a trusty pen and notebook? Do students who opt for traditional classroom items look un-cool in the face of their laptop toting, iPad wielding classmates?

Well, for students at McPherson College, not only will you look un-cool if you show up at “Intercultural Communication” class, taught by Dr. Becki Bowman, assistant professor of communication, but you will be violating Bowman’s declaration that Intercultural Communication will be a “paperless class.”

From the very first day of class, students will not be handed one single piece of paper – no paper tests, syllabi, or assignments.

ITEXPO StartupCamp5 Produces Fan Favorite from Harvard

February 7, 2012

It is hard to dislike anything about ITEXPO’s traditional StartupCamp event. Startup companies are given five minutes to bask in the spotlight and give insight into their innovations; a panel of expert judges throws a few curve balls at the presenters to make sure they are sweating just enough; and the audience gets to vote on which startup company deserves investor backing and a promising future.

Miami’s StartupCamp5 last week brought all the usual delights of the event and a fan favorite in Monica Liu, a Harvard undergrad student and co-founder of Townhall 140, a startup company that competed against three others at last week’s event. Simply put, Townhall 140 is an online platform that relies on Twitter and video to bolster civic engagement.