by Natalie Hormilla
“I wish that I could put a scrambler over my building that would not allow any airwaves to come in and out during the day,” said Lake Region Union High School Principal Andre Messier.
He made that comment during a phone interview Monday on the topic of cyber bullying.
Sometimes cyber bullying happens only online — as in a “comments fight,” or nasty e-mails — and sometimes there’s an instance of a real incident continuing to live online.
Such was the case recently when an argument between students at the Orleans Elementary School was posted online.
The incident occurred while students were on the way home from school and involved a group of middle schoolers and at least one younger student.
What most agree was basically an argument between kids generated much attention because videos of it were posted online, and it appeared to some that a young black girl was targeted by an older white boy.
Orleans Elementary School Principal Kim Hastings conducted an investigation into the argument, which took place off school grounds last month, she said in a phone interview Monday.
“It was a just a verbal fight amongst middle school kids,” Ms. Hastings said. “There were inappropriate things said all around by the kids, and what happens is that they all got mad.”
Social media has exacerbated bullying, Mr. Messier said.
He has been an educator for 22 years, so he’s been on the front line of handling social media issues with students as they have become more prevalent and more complex.
“Back in our day, it was passing notes and throwing them in people’s lockers…now everything is so immediate and so much out into the world,” Mr. Messier said. “You know, you post something and it’s not just that one person you’ve written this note to, it’s public.”
Because of the public nature of the Orleans incident, many people learned about the fight, which some did consider to be a case of bullying.
At least one of the students recorded two videos of the incident and posted them on Facebook. Then an account of the story appeared in a local newspaper. Continue reading