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Cyberbully Parent, Behaving Badly

Cyberbully students are causing endless angst for schools who feel obligated to interfere when students bully and are bullied–but aren’t sure where the limitations of their authority lie. Legal wrangling about cyberbullying goes on–and so does the debate about what a parent’s role should be when it’s his kid on one side or the other of the online equation. Last week’s New York Times article spotlighted one parent who sued on behalf of his daughter, who was suspended from her Beverly Hills high school for posting a video online in which other students called a fellow eighth grade girl “ugly,” “spoiled,” a “brat” and a “slut.” The parent said he chastised his daughter. “That wasn’t a nice thing to do.” But still, he sued, and the court revoked the girl’s suspension and awarded court costs.

Putting aside the legal situation, bloggers like Strollerderby’s Madeline Holler wondered if the lawsuit-happy dad did more than chastise his daughter. Did he, perhaps, take away her cell phone? Limit her time online? Do anything at all to suggest that such “not nice” behavior, even if legal and outside the boundaries of school authority, would not be tolerated? At Tablet, commenters on an article about cyberbullying wondered the same thing–and the dad himself showed up in the debate.

He never did answer the question–but he did reveal exactly where his offspring learned her charming online manners.
Read more on Babble.

And the background: Marjorie Ingalls, the Tablet writer, is an online friend, and the discussion there is fascinating even beyond the inadvertent revelation on the cyberbully dad’s part that his kid is just a chip off the ole’ block. If you’re at all interested in the constitutional legality of cyberbullying laws and rules, it’s fabulous–and even better should you happen to have an interest in how the Talmud might apply to the issue.


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