Recently, where I live, there was an incident involving a high school teacher and student. The situation occurred in the classroom when the teacher was leading a discussion. During the dialogue, an accusation that Republican presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, was a bully during his youth arose. The student claimed that President Barack Obama was a bully too, along with other comments that unsettled the teacher. Part of the exchange between the teacher and student was recorded on a cellphone and posted on YouTube. The teacher is currently on suspension as the school district investigates the situation.
This event has sparked a sudden interest in the phenomenon of cyber-baiting. What is cyber-baiting you may ask? The technical definition of the term is when a student irritates or baits a teacher until they get so frustrated that they yell and/or have a breakdown. The student films the incident on a cell phone and posts the footage online. A report from Norton, an internet security program, found that one fifth of teachers have been the victim of or knew of a colleague who had experienced cyber-baiting. http://www.symantec.com/content/en/us/home_homeoffice/html/cybercrimereport/.
As my community moves forward in resolving this incident, I hope that those leading our school district will be fair and objective. As the phenomenon of cyber-baiting continues to rise, policies, procedures, and training needs to be put into place and enforced in order to avoid similar situations. For more information on cyber-baiting at high school and collegiate level check out this article at http://www.onlinecolleges.net/2011/11/30/cyber-baiting-classroom/.
West Rowan High School Senior