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

Cyber Bullying

Welcome to the Hallway

June 14, 2011

Welcome to “Gossip from the Hallways,” an education technology blog designed to dish on all the scuttlebutt resounding from the school hallways about how technology is impacting education. From cyberbullying to virtual classrooms to energy efficiencies in schools, this blog will cover all the stuff too good to simply pass a note about.

First, allow me to introduce myself. My name is Carrie Schmelkin and I am a Web Editor here at TMCnet. Let me start off by saying that I am no stranger to how education technology has rocked the school hallways.

The New Playground for Bullying

June 21, 2011

Here’s what bullying was like for students who were in middle school from 1997 to 2001: If you were a girl, pre-adolescent girls stopped talking to you if you were still wearing Gap when you should have clearly switched to Abercrombie & Fitch. If you were a guy who was a “late bloomer,” still teetering somewhere around four feet five inches, you would have become the victim of some harsh pranks during recess. And, for both sexes, some of the most traumatic forms of bullying were being ostracized at the lunch table and finding nasty notes in your locker.

Fast forward just 10 years and bullying has taken on one of the cruelest forms to date.

Tyler Clementi Case: New Evidence Uncovered

August 16, 2011

New evidence has turned up this week in the case involving Tyler Clementi, the college freshman who jumped to his death after being cyber bullied.

For those who need reminding about this tragic instance of cyber bullying, Clementi was an 18-year-old freshman at Rutgers University who, after being a victim of online bullying, decided to take his own life by jumping off the George Washington bridge. What led him to that harrowing decision was when an intimate moment between Clementi and another male was allegedly recorded by Clementi’s roommate, Dharun Ravi, and streamed over the Internet.

Currently, Ravi’s lawyer has issued a motion to dismiss all charges against Ravi, explaining that new evidence has been uncovered that shows that Ravi did not harbor ill will against Clementi.

Tyler Clementi Case: What's in a Text?

August 30, 2011

Two weeks ago, new evidence was recovered from the Tyler Clementi case that indicated that perhaps Dharun Ravi – Clementi’s college roommate who allegedly recorded an imitate moment between Clementi and another male and streamed it over the Internet – actually had a shred of decency in his DNA. This week, I  am of the belief again that Ravi did not have one ounce of remorse for what he did.

According to the latest court documents released two weeks ago, Clementi used his cell phone at 8:42 p.m. on Sept. 22 to send a text message to Facebook and update his status to "Jumping off the gw bridge, sorry." This was after the Rutgers University freshman reportedly learned that his encounter with another male had been streamed by Ravi for others’ viewing pleasure.

The Rise of Cyberbullying Puts Greater Emphasis on Anti-Bullying Assemblies

September 30, 2011

When I was a reporter in Connecticut covering the education beat, one of the most touching moments during my two years of scouring the news in suburbia was when I attended an anti-bullying assembly at New Canaan High School called “Names Can Really Hurt Us.”

The program, created by the Anti-Defamation League, asks upperclassmen to undergo weeks of training to lead underclassmen through one of the most powerful programs I have ever seen. As the assembly begins, seniors take to the stage to act out an incident that touches upon bullying. In so doing, student leaders hope to convey the message to underclassman that the biggest threats in school are not actually bullies but those that sit by and watch others get victimized – bystanders.

States Charge Forward with Anti-Bullying Laws

October 7, 2011

We don’t think twice when asked to name illicit activities: driving while under the influence of alcohol, first-degree murder, kidnapping, shoplifting…

But what about bullying? And what about Cyberbullying? We may think of these instances as heinous crimes but, fortunately, in most states these activities are slowly becoming illegal and carry with them felony charges.

They are Watching You: Schools Place Cameras on Buses to Preclude Bullying

October 18, 2011

Do you recall the days of sitting on the school bus and standing by helplessly as some pompous older student stole your hard-earned lunch money? How about the time those two girls who you thought were your friends refused to let you sit in the seat with them (even though it was meant for three) and you were forced to sit with that weird smelly kid who liked to eat paint?

Albeit tough circumstances, the types of bullying that occur on the school bus nowadays are far more personal and upsetting. From using cell phones to send text messages to your friend about someone sitting five feet away from you to kids talking about the Facebook invite they received to Kim’s birthday party (while they know that the kid in the seat next to them wasn’t invited), bullying and cyberbullying have found their way onto the school buses.

Cyberbullying: When will it Get Better?

October 27, 2011

I was reminiscing with one of my coworkers yesterday about how tough the middle school years are and we both expressed a similar sentiment, “We would never want to experience middle school again.” From the cliqueiness to the rudeness to the coldness, the pre-teen and adolescent years are particularly harrowing.

However, if I am being honest, I don’t think my coworker or I fully understand how bad school can get.

When I was in middle school, things like Facebook and Twitter did not exist and the ways in which you could bully, while still terrible, were somewhat more traditional (even predictable). Fast forward more than a decade later and now terms like “cyberbullying” and “de-friend”  are used as much as “recess” and “free period.”  It is deeply upsetting that these words are thrown around as if they are common vernacular.

Does 'Jersey Shore' Promote Cyberbullying?

November 15, 2011

When we watched characters like Snooki and Vinny disparage Angelina on season 1 and 2 of MTV’s “Jersey Shore” – like when Vinny said, “OK, Kim Kardashian... more like the Rob Kardashian of Staten Island, you ugly b*tch!” – we all laughed, whether we wanted to admit it or not.

And every time Pauly D and the Situation refer to what they deem unattractive, heavier girls as “grenades,” we can’t help but crack a grin at their outlandish statements, like this one made by the Situation in the first season: “When you go into battle, you need to have some friends with you so that just in case a grenade gets thrown at you, one of your buddies takes it first.”

But what are the repercussions for hearing these degrading statements once a week on MTV?

A Ways to Go...

December 13, 2011

Time is quickly running out for Connecticut schools to develop a safe school climate plan, something which Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy sanctioned this past summer.

According to the General Assembly of Connecticut, “An Act Concerning the Strengthening of School Bullying Laws,” was signed into law by Malloy on July 13. The act takes “comprehensive steps to prevent bullying and ensure every child the right to learn in public school without fear of teasing, humiliation or assault.”

Per the statute, each school must: adopt a clear policy against bullying behaviors; train all school staff who interact with students on how to prevent bullying; ensure that all school staff take immediate action whenever they observe bullying or receive a report; and gather data to access the extent of bullying in school.

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