Middle school girls promote “Attack a Teacher Day”
It’s not always the so-called obvious students in a school that get into trouble. At Carson Middle School in Nevada, a girl created a page on Facebook called “Attack a Teacher Day” and set January 7, 2011 as the day.
The unidentified girl invited 100 students at two middle schools to contribute to the site. Five of her friends responded with threats to specific teachers including the words “die” and “attack”. The six targeted teachers were surprised at what they read since the girls were good students and some in leadership positions at the school.* A parent notified authorities about the site.
The 12 and 13 year old girls were arrested and taken to juvenile hall. They were charged with communicating a threat, a misdemeanor, and released to their parents. They received suspensions from school for 3 to 5 days.
The school used the incident as a teachable moment. Class discussions took place about appropriate online behavior. Carson City Sheriff, Ken Furlong, stated that ”They made some pretty violent comments about some teachers, and this isn’t even close to a joke. Children’s stresses are so great that they can act out on their frustrations. Parents need to monitor what their kids are doing on communication devices.”
*A new study published in the American Sociological Review (February 2011) found that students in the middle of the social hierarchies at their schools, rather than the most popular or the most socially outcast, are more likely to be bullies. The researchers, led by U.C. Davis sociology professor Richard W. Faris, followed 3,722 students in North Carolina for three years. The patterns of aggressors’ places in the social spectrum were the same. The lesson: old stereotypes of school bullies are dangerous in the modern world.