Cyberbullying Can Happen To Teachers, Too

I wrote about this before in Think Before You Post. This time the incident involved Canadian students provoking a teacher and then recording him losing his temper. They posted the video on YouTube (it was removed later at the request of the school board). From the New York Times article:

“Two students who attend the equivalent of Grade 9 at a school in Gatineau, Quebec, a city across the river from Ottawa, were sent home last week after officials learned that they had posted a videotape of a teacher losing his temper on YouTube. The episode was not spontaneous. A girl, who has not been identified, provoked the teacher while a boy secretly taped the encounter with a compact video camera.

YouTube removed the video at the request of the Portages-de-l’Outaouais school board a week ago, the board president Jocelyn Blondin said. But that has left the question of determining what to do with the students and how to prevent similar episodes in the future.

While Mr. Blondin declined to name the teacher, he said that the man is a 33-year veteran who specialized in teaching students with learning disabilities. The teacher is now on voluntary sick leave, and officials at his union say that he is so embarrassed that he may never return to class.”

We’re going to continue to see incidents like this happening at school as long as teachers and administrators are not proactive about understanding how students are using (and sometimes abusing) technology. But understanding is only the first step, next comes developing a curriculum that emphasizes online ethics and information literacy. And finally, there needs to be policies put in place to address these incidents when they happen in ways that are fair and consistent.

If any teachers reading work at schools who have developed such a curriculum or a policy, I encourage you to post a comment about your experience or email me and I’ll post it online.

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