Rather than properly disciplining their child for the act of cyber-bullying, some parents are taking the low road and suing schools for punishing their child’s act of hate.
According to a recent story from the Los Angeles Times, some parents and free-speech advocates are fighting back against school-issued discipline, claiming their children “have a 1st Amendment right to be nasty in cyberspace.”
Although it is unclear whether these incidents have increased in intensity or whether more people are reporting them, parents and schools are growing increasingly unafraid to prosecute bullies as criminals. USA Today reports that, in the last 20 years, criminal charges and parental litigation have increased in cases of juvenile bullying.
In addition, it seems that the bullying cases are bringing to light more disturbing and cruel assaults than in years past. For example, the USA Today article cites cases involving sodomizing with broom handles and hockey sticks and simulated rape in addition to physical beatings. And in at least one case, a student was held down while the bully rubbed his genitals on the victim’s face.
What makes these cases worse is the fact that majority of them are not isolated incidents, but rather once a victim comes forward to a parent or teacher a history of bulling and abuse is uncovered.
The key to preventing this type of abuse before it starts is an open line of communication between parents and children, teachers and students. Make sure your children know that they can talk to you about anything. Create the type of relationship with your child where they will feel safe talking to you in an open and honest way. In addition, talk to your children about bullying and speaking up when they see it. Many of the cases of bullying uncovered a number of witnesses that for some reason or another did not tell parents or teachers about the abuse of another student.
Communication is key to keeping your children safe.