As the Dancer's parents, we received a letter from the principals of the local intermediate, middle and high schools. It contained a urgent plea that parents become aware of what their children are texting, and what they are saying on Facebook. Apparently enough students are affected by rumors and threats posted in these two venues, that their school attendance is suffering, and the schools want the behavior to stop. What the appropriate authorities see when they have stepped in (after kids stop coming to school) is language that is "beyond inappropriate," X-rated, slanderous and/or threatening. Schools are right to be concerned about this kind of activity. What I find interesting is how negatively they look at texts, and Facebook (which word they put in italics for the entire letter.)
Kids have been mean to each other, well, probably since Cain and Abel fought as young boys. Anyone remember Nellie Oleson and Laura Ingalls? It's beyond stereotypical, the mean kids and the nice kids. The only thing that is new is the medium. Granted, texts and posts can reach the entire class with one click, whereas it took a little longer for the rumor mill to work back in the old days. But kids who wish to hurt someone else badly enough are not even shy about saying unkind things to their classmates faces, either. Did you all see that video that went viral a few months back, of the overweight kid hauling off and punching one of the boys who had been teasing him for years about his weight? The aggressor was going so far as to physically push his victim. The Dancer knows very well who the "cool" kids and the "popular" kids in her school are, because they have no compunction with going around and saying so.
Are teachers and school administrators right to be concerned? I think so. Would you like to go to work after the guy in the next cubicle threatens to beat you up at the end of the day? (Sub sandwich commercials notwithstanding.) Or loudly calls you a slut while everyone is in the lunch room? Children should not dread or be afraid of coming to school. But texts and Facebook are not the enemy, and reading all your child's texts and postings (as the letter suggests,) will not stop the malice and the desire to hurt others that lies in the hearts of children.
That's the real problem, you see, that we are all poor miserable sinners. The school can't say that, of course. But what parents really should be doing is teaching their offspring kindness and self-control. We're never going to like everyone. We probably all think unkind, negative things about people. But we should be taught to curb our tongues and not say hurtful things aloud, or seek forgiveness if we fail. If we're Christians, we should even go as far as recognizing that our very thoughts are sinful, and seeking forgiveness from God for them. The real problem is ourselves, as it has ever been.