Cyber-baiting a Phenomenon On The Rise

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.

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

Cierra Cross
West Rowan High School Senior

The Vine Event Planning

RealTalk – Amendment One Backyard Chat

We Are Campaign Discussion Facilitators

Amendment One (as it will appear on the North Carolina’s ballot): “Constitutional amendment to provide that marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this State.”

North Carolina’s Amendment One will affect aspects other than marriage, said campaign leaders on Sunday, April 29, 2012, during The Vine Event Planning’s  “RealTalk – Amendment One Backyard Chat.”

“Amendment One will have a broader affect that encompasses domestic law,” said Robert Eldredge, who started the “We Are” campaign in North Carolina.

Eldredge and Lindsay Welch—Welch helped Eldredge start the campaign– spoke to a group of more than 20 people in the backyard of Tonya Cross, the owner of The Vine Event Planning.

Not only will Amendment One narrow the definition of marriage to a union between a man and woman, but it will also affect domestic violence laws and protections, domestic partner benefits, and child custody cases.

After Eldredge and Welch gave an overview of Amendment One and its effects, attendants at the event were divided into three groups lead by four facilitators: Kristen Thompson, Esq., Eldredge, Welch, and Evelyn Medina.

Thompson, talked to her group about the legal aspects of Amendment One. Thompson claimed that the broad language used in the amendment has been the cause of some controversy surrounding the amendment. She said the definition of a “domestic legal union” is not clearly defined and is thus left up to interpretation of those implementing the law.

The definition of a “domestic legal union” was the main topic discussed by the group Eldredge and Welch led. They said the assumed definition of marriage between a man and a woman laid out in Amendment One is an ideology of family that is being forced upon the residents of North Carolina.

Medina’s group shared their personal views on the amendment. Larry Clifton, an attendant at the event, said he was going to vote for the amendment because of religious reasons until he realized that it did not just affect the gay community.

“I have a problem with the fact that this amendment will affect children and their access to their parent’s health insurance,” Clifton said.

Henry Giles, who was also part of Medina’s group, said same-sex marriage is just one aspect of Amendment One.

“They [legislators] are using people’s fears and prejudices against gay people to encourage people to vote for the amendment,” Giles said.

Educate yourself on Amendment One before you cast your vote. The last day to vote on the amendment is May 8th, 2012.  To find out more about Amendment One and the “We Are” campaign, visit

Desere’ Cross, UNC-CH Journalism Major

Visit  to learn about other awareness campaigns being promoted by The Vine Event Planning.


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RealTalk – Discussion of Trayvon Martin Case

Trayvon Martin Discussion Facilitators

On Sunday, April 15th, The Vine Event Planning hosted a RealTalk discussion of Trayvon Martin Case at Southern City Community Development Center in Salisbury, NC. Discussion facilitators included Brian Steel, Kristen Thompson Esq., Minister Kay Boyd and Mercedes Harrington.­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­

Guest were divided up into four groups. Steele’s group discussed racial profiling. The people in his group shared their personal stories of racial profiling and what they could do in their community to prevent it.

“With this case, you have to act past the verdict,” said Michael Cross, an attendant at the event, who was referring to Martin’s case. He said you have to direct your attention to the police force and law if you want true change to occur.

Kristen Thompson Esq. led a group discussion on the legal aspects of Martin’s case. She discussed the Stand Your Ground law in Florida as it relates to the case. Thompson also talked about her concerns with the charges George Zimmerman was charged with.

“Second degree murder is going to be really hard to prove in court,” said Thompson. She said she thinks it would be easier to prove Zimmerman guilty of manslaughter because of the amount of evidence that is required to convict someone of second degree murder.

Minister Kay Boyd talked about the faith community’s role in civil rights and how it has changed over the years. To explain this change, Boyd’s group came up with several reasons. One reason was that the church’s value system and culture has changed; it has been diluted and flushed out by modernization and the media.

Mercedes Harrington led the group discussion on international/national support that has been rallied around Martin’s case. Harrington shared with her group how people in other countries view this situation as one of the many racial cases in America. She also talked to her group about the importance of not reacting violently to the injustices that Martin’s family is experiencing.

Willette Johnson, said she really enjoys attending events hosted by The Vine Event Planning because they allow her to “dialogue about things happening in the community”.

The Vine Event Planning’s next RealTalk event, Amendment One Backyard Chat, will be Sunday, April 29th at 6pm. At this event they will discuss the facts about the North Carolina amendment that will be on most ballots across the state on May 8th. Their goal is to ensure that voters will be able to make an educated vote when they go to the polls.

Desere’ Cross, UNC-CH Journalism Major

The Vine Event Planning

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RealTalk – Xenophobia Discussion

RealTalk – Xenophobia – Take Away Points

Thanks to everyone who participated in our first RealTalk discussion! We hope that this event was an enriching experience and a portal for positive change. Below are some take away points from the discussion that we would like to share.


  • Definition of Xenophobia- Xenophobia [zen-uh-foh-bee-uh] is an unreasonable fear, distrust, or hatred of strangers, foreigners, or anything perceived as foreign or different. –
  • We can find xenophobia within cultures; it’s not only an outside force. This can cause intra-discrimination which in turn causes division among a culture.
  • We have to see beyond an individual’s ethnicity, gender, age, religion, socio-economic status, and sexual orientation and evaluate them based on their character. Are they honest, dependable, or exhibit integrity?
  • True change begins within. We need to confront and overcome any unreasonable fears we have against anything/anyone foreign or different. Also, we need to challenge others to do the same when they exhibit xenophobic behavior.

“Be the change you want to see in the world.” – Mahatma Gandhi