Bullying Went Too Far

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Posts about real school tragedy, crime and/or events can be upsetting.

Robin Lyons' Blog Post #142If you watch network news or you’re on Facebook, you probably saw the piece this week where a middle school boy’s mother recorded him talking about how being bullied makes him feel.

After the story aired the focus shifted from the bullied boy to his mother’s social media posts.

In the research I’m sharing in this post, the same thing occurred. It makes me wonder why people shift the focus—to one-up the story?

BLOG POST #142: This week, I’m sharing research on a specific criminal case involving two 13-year-old girls.

Tell Your Parents

The social media cyberbullying began with name calling. The anonymous online bully told the 13-year old girl she was ugly and dumb. Then the young girl did the right thing; she told her parents.

It serves no purpose to pass judgment as to why the parents didn’t have their daughter take a break from social media; they didn’t. The parents had access to their daughter’s accounts and monitored the bullying.

Bully At Large

The bully taunted the young teen and used events such as the death of her grandfather and uncle by saying everybody that she loved was dying and she was going to be next.

Bullying Turned Into Stalking

Photos of the girl were taken from the vantage point of looking through windows at her home and then posted on social media with an added threat that the bully knew everything the girl was doing.

Schools Don’t Know What To Do

After her mother spoke with the school, she felt there wasn’t enough being done to protect her daughter, so she pulled her from the school and then went to the media.

The school district released a statement after the television stories aired, assuring parents that the district has policies in place to “ensure that students receive their education in an environment free from bullying.”

I’m pretty sure all school districts have such policies. Whether or not they follow through is what matters.

Somebody Make It Stop

Afraid to go outside, the girl became a prisoner in her home.

Friends created a Facebook campaign to show support using the hashtag “#[her name]sarmy.” The bully/stalker countered with a campaign using the hashtag “#[her name]haters.”

Her parents sought help from the local law enforcement who in turn asked for assistance from the Cyber Crimes Unit of the Attorney General’s Office.

At one point the bully tried to rally the girl’s friends to join in by messaging them with comments like, “Please help me. We can end her together. It will be easy. Just get her {expletive} alone.”

Her mother shared screen shots from social media showing comments which read, “I will not stop until all of her friends hate her. Or she dies.” And, “Just die already. Wait until I get your number honey. Then I’ll get you. I will come. All in good time.”

The school district said they were ready to take appropriate action if this turned out to be bullying from students.

The End Is Near

After enduring eight months of cyberbullying from an unknown person, the Cyber Crimes Unit finally traced the IP address, and local law enforcement arrested a 13-year-old girl on charges of making false accusations and tampering with evidence.

In the state where the crimes occurred, cyberbullying usually falls under stalking, a third-degree felony.

Because the case involves a juvenile the rest of the story remains protected. I wish I had more for you. It’s a true story cliffhanger.

My ‘Take Away’ in this case: Clearly, the bully had too much unsupervised time to use social media. This child didn’t use a service where the post disappeared after being read. Her parents could have seen what she was posting had they watched her, but she was quite savvy and utilized at least six different profiles to deliver her cruel messages.

What do you think about this case? Join the conversation on the website. We talk about the sensitive subject of crimes occurring at or connected to schools. Your relevant comments are always welcome on the Research Blog.

Do you know of a school crime you’d like to share? Email me so we can discuss the details.

Thanks for reading!

-Robin

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The Tormented Turned Killer

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Posts about real school tragedy, crime and/or events can be upsetting.

School violence is so sad and can have a lasting impact on all involved. My heart aches for anyone who has lost a loved one or friend to school violence.

BLOG POST #140: This week, I’m sharing research on a specific criminal case involving two high school boys.

Not My Son

According to one family, their 15-year-old son had been bullied, and they told him to stand up for himself. The other family said their 16-year-old son and only child was not a bully. A female student told her father she witnessed the 15-year-old boy constantly being picked on by the 16-year-old.

It was December, between 12 and 20 students in grades kindergarten through high school were on the school bus headed for school.

Premeditated

There was an argument between the two boys. Something said made the 15-year-old snap. He reached over the bus seat and used a kitchen knife to fatally stab the 16-year-old he felt was bullying him. He had obviously planned to use the knife in some manner or for protection.

And then the 15-year-old jumped out the bus’ emergency door and fled the area.

Deputies found the 15-year-old about four hours later hiding near a pond three miles from where the stabbing had occurred. The boy cooperated and showed the deputies where he’d thrown the knife in some weeds.

Adult Court: Youthful Offender

The boy was initially ordered to stand trial as an adult, but the [state] Court of Criminal Appeals overturned the ruling and said he should be prosecuted as a youthful offender.

He pleaded no contest to killing the classmate and was assigned to a facility where he’d be required to complete a five-step rehabilitation program.

Good Behavior

The [state] Office of Juvenile Affairs was required to relinquish supervision of the youthful offender by his 20th birthday unless he was bridged into an adult prison. After almost five years of incarceration, he was released the day before he turned 20.

Worth Mentioning: While in custody he was charged with two counts of assault and battery for allegedly stabbing another inmate with a pencil and assaulting and threatening to stab and kill a staff member. All charges were later dismissed.

My ‘Take Away’ in this case: It’s heartbreaking to see the hurtful ways young people deal with bullies. Somehow, someway, adults need to figure out how to stop bullying. I believe the shift has to start at the top—school officials, parents, local authorities, etc.

What do you think about this case? Join the conversation on the website. We talk about the sensitive subject of crimes occurring at or connected to schools. Your relevant comments are always welcome on the Research Blog.

Do you know of a school crime you’d like to share? Email me so we can discuss the details.

Thanks for reading!

-Robin

Link to Amazon

Find out what Mac MacKenna  is up to in

UNKNOWN THREAT and MAC

Both Available at Amazon

MAC is FREE when you join the School News Reader Club

Fear Of Missing Out

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Posts about real school tragedy, crime and/or events can be upsetting.

 

I’m the first to acknowledge my weekly news is dark. Focusing on the important topic of crimes happening at schools, in my opinion, is sad but necessary.

Just like the #MeToo movement which is a sensitive subject so are crimes occurring at or connected to schools. Neither of these offenses affects everyone but everyone should care and want to see fewer occurrences.

BLOG POST #139: This week, I’m sharing positive news about a program to limit social media usage for young children.

Need To Know Now

Almost everyone has heard of ‘FOMO.’ The fear of missing out on something, it could be news, gossip, events, etc.

In today’s world where information is readily accessible and updates every nanosecond, our attention span is getting shorter, and our desire to be ‘in the know’ is getting greater.

Everyone Is Doing It

Can kids voluntarily stay off social media until mature enough to handle it? Close to impossible when their friends are all on social media.

Have you ever restricted your child from using social media and then found out they’ve been sneakily using their devices during the night to access social media?

You may think ‘not my child’ or ‘never happening in my home.’ I have a friend who took her son’s device away, plugged in to charge next to her bed. As she rose to use the restroom in the middle of the night she stepped on the child slyly playing on the device. #TrueStory

The Pledge

I recently read about a Social Media Pledge, and I’m hopeful it’ll catch on. Students sign a pledge to stay off social media until 8th grade when they’re better prepared to handle a sometimes violent and often bullying world.

An attorney/mom was inspired to present the pledge concept after hearing a detective speak about the emotional and physical dangers children face on social media.

Parents can see success with a Social Media Pledge when they band together.

Power In Numbers

One parent telling their child they can’t use social media when all the friends are using it is a tough position to hold. The pledge concept forms an alliance between parents in a community who agree to enforce the pledge. When none of the friends are on social media, the restriction is no longer an issue for dispute.

I see the SM Pledge as success on two fronts. It keeps younger children off social media, and it opens a dialogue between parents and children about the potentially harmful or hurtful content on social media.

Check it out: Social Media Pledge

What do you think about the Social Media Pledge? Join the conversation on the website. We talk about the sensitive subject of crimes occurring at or connected to schools. Your relevant comments are always welcome on the Research Blog.

Do you know of a school crime you’d like to share? Email me so we can discuss the details.

Thanks for reading!

-Robin

Link to AmazonFind out what Mac MacKenna  is up to in

UNKNOWN THREAT and MAC

Both Available at Amazon

MAC is FREE when you join the School News Reader Club

Bullying Prevention

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Posts about real school tragedy, crime and/or events can be upsetting.

When I was a school bus driver, I learned that when the kids were amped up or treating someone mean it was more effective to pull the bus over and park.

When the kids finally noticed we were no longer moving and wondered why—I would tell them what was going on, who was involved and that I’d wait until they were able to settle down or stop bullying (whatever the situation was).

I’d unfasten my seat belt, turn around and look at several dozen sets of eyes looking at me. #PeerPressure

After a minute or so, I’d let them know I’d continue if the behavior didn’t and that every time the shenanigans happened, I would park the bus. They tested me. And I followed through. We settled in, they behaved and got home on time while I was able to drive safely.

BLOG POST #135: For the last Saturday post in National Bullying Prevention Month, I’m sharing research on Restorative Justice.

Per the U.S. Department of Education: States and districts are increasingly in support of policies and practices that shift school discipline away from zero tolerance, such as suspension and expulsion, to discipline that is focused on teaching and engagement.

What is Restorative Justice?

Restorative Justice is shifting how discipline is handled from punitive to repairing the harm that has been done.

This philosophy isn’t new. It stems from centuries of peacemaking systems in indigenous cultures.

Students develop empathy for their peers, build trust and understanding.

What A Wonderful World It Could Be

When done correctly, Restorative Justice can change the school culture; students can be more respectful, responsible and engaged. Changing old and outdated processes requires commitment and effort. Staff, parents, students, and the community must be in agreement, or the shift may never get off the starting block.

Here’s an example:

A female high school student leaves her cell phone out during class. A male friend uses the phone and sends out some rude texts to people; one was the girl’s parent. The girl was in trouble at home and tried to explain it was the boy.

The girl submitted her friend’s cell phone prank to the school’s Justice Committee, made up of students, for consideration to mediate. The committee sits in a circle and includes the two who have a dispute (sitting across from each other). The committee has rules, pre-determined questions and only one person speaks at a time.

The girl told the group how much trouble she got into because of the prank. The boy was asked what he thought would happen when he texted hurtful comments on her phone, how did he feel about what’s happened since, etc. He admitted he felt like ‘crap’ after he learned the girl had gotten into trouble. He thought his prank would be funny. And he understood that he’d gone too far with the prank.

The committee determined the boy needed to make amends for his actions and apologize to the girl’s parent. They also decided the girl needed to accept responsibility for having violated a school rule when she had her phone accessible during class time.

Total Commitment Required

Once students understand the new process and what will happen when they act out, behaviors change. An outcome similarly to what I experienced as a bus driver.

To be successful with Restorative Justice, it must be implemented and run correctly. All parties (staff, parent, students, and the community) need to have clear objectives, consistent protocols, and the student committee must remain non-judgmental.

More information on Restorative Justice is available on the U.S. Department of Education website.

What do you think about Restorative Justice? Join the conversation on the website. We talk about the sensitive subject of crimes occurring at or connected to schools. Your relevant comments are always welcome on the Research Blog.

Do you know of a school crime you’d like to share? Email me so we can discuss the details.

Thanks for reading!

-Robin

Link to Amazon

Find out what Mac MacKenna  is up to in

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Sixth-Grade Girls Tormented This Classmate

***READER DISCRETION IS ADVISED***

Posts about real school tragedy, crime and/or events can be upsetting.

As I research crimes occurring at or connected to schools I’ve seen more and more events involving pre-teens.

It saddens me to read about the negative side of public education, but at the same time, I believe it’s vital for everyone who cares about children to be armed with knowledge.

Times are changing. Because schools can no longer be considered safe havens, parents need to be advocates for their children. Schools can’t do everything that is needed; they’re simply underfunded, understaffed and overworked.

BLOG POST #134: This week, I’m sharing research on a specific criminal case involving sixth-grade girls.

Senseless Cruelty

She had everything going for her and everything that makes kids jealous. It was said this 12-year-old was sweet, smart, kind and quiet. And she was a cheerleader.

The bullying began in October—teasing, dirty looks from classmates, name-calling, exclusion and shooing her away from their lunch table.

Then the cyber-bullying began. There were texts, Snapchats, and Instagram posts. They told her she was a loser, said she had no friends.

Her grades began to drop. She suffered from chronic headaches and stomach pain. She begged to stay home from school.

The American Academy of Pediatrics stated in a report on bullying: girls make more suicide attempts, but boys die from suicide at a rate three times higher than girls because they tend to choose more lethal methods, such as firearms.

Make The Bullying Stop

Requests for assistance from teachers, counselors, school administrators and the students’ parents didn’t make the torment stop.

Bullying has always been a major issue for adolescents, but there is now greater recognition of the connection between bullying and suicide,” said Benjamin Shain, MD, Ph.D. in an American Academy of Pediatrics report.

Gone Girl

The ugliness ended the next year in June. After the bullies told her, “Why don’t you kill yourself?” She killed herself.

Did you know in 2007, suicide was the third-leading cause of death for adolescents age 15 to 19 years old? In 2016, suicide rose to the second-leading cause of death.

There is a lot of helpful information available on the StopBullying.gov website.

Worth Mentioning: The young girl’s parents have filed a lawsuit against the school district and its administrators for alleged gross negligence for not responding to their pleas to make the bullying stop.

Here’s my ‘Take Away’ on this case: Bullying is hard to stop without parent cooperation on both sides. Too often a child who bullies learned how at home. And schools are caught in the middle. Parents want the school to intervene but do they have the authority to act on behavior that occurred off campus and not during school hours. The evidence is critical; parents need to have their kids take screenshots of bullying messages and save bullying emails. If the school is unable to remedy the situation—law enforcement will want evidence.

What do you think about this case? Join the conversation on the website. We talk about the sensitive subject of crimes occurring at or connected to schools. Your relevant comments are always welcome on the Research Blog.

Do you know of a school crime you’d like to share? Email me so we can discuss the details.

Thanks for reading and caring about children!

-Robin

Link to Amazon

Find out what Mac MacKenna  is up to in

UNKNOWN THREAT and MAC

Both Available at Amazon

MAC is FREE when you join the School News Reader Club